Financial Compensation for a Sexual Assault Through Civil Lawsuit in New Hampshire
Personal injury can occur not only as a result of a car accident but also after sexual abuse, rape, or sexual assault. Regardless of whether sexual abuse or assault is a single offense or repetitive, illegal sexual contact can lead to physical injuries, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
A victim of rape or sexual assault can be left with a mix of emotions ranging from shame and guilt to embarrassment, self-blame, and the fear of not being believed. Unfortunately, an estimated 63% of sexual assaults are never reported to the police.
Not reporting sexual assault means that the victim:
- will not be able to get a sense of closure;
- does not stop the perpetrator from destroying the lives of other innocent people; and
- is not able to seek monetary compensation for the physical, psychological, and emotional harm.
Here at the Law Office of Manning Zimmerman & Oliveira PLLC, our Manchester sexual assault attorneys work with clients who seek compensation for the injuries caused by others, whether it is by a stranger, acquaintance, or trusted adult..
Manchester Police Arrest a Man Who Sexually Assaulted a Disabled Woman
This past month, Manchester police arrested a man accused of sexually assaulting a 21-year-old disabled woman. According to WGME, police responded to a report of a sexual assault in the area of Kennard Road and Mammoth Road around 2:10 a.m. on November 12, 2019.
The woman told police that she was in a bathroom and could not leave because she was disabled and did not have her two prosthetic legs with her. The 24-year-old perpetrator was reported to be uncooperative and attempted to flee when Manchester police found the man.
These types of assault are particularly concerning when the victim is disabled (mentally or physically) or in situations where the assailant has a position of power over the victim – teachers, prison guards, and caretakers being examples of this power disparity. Often, the victim or their families have placed their trust in the assailant or the company the assailant works for, only to have that trust and sense of security destroyed.
Can Victims Obtain Financial Compensation From a Perpetrator of Sexual Assault in New Hampshire?
In addition to criminal prosecution against a perpetrator who committed sexual assault, the victim in Manchester or elsewhere in New Hampshire can bring a civil case against the attacker to obtain financial compensation for the injuries. In instances where the attacker’s employer was negligent, such as failing to act on prior complaints or failing to do required background checks, the employer may also have responsibility.
New Hampshire’s statute of limitations for civil claims stemming from sexual assaults and rapes is usually three years. There are some exceptions to this, such as when a victim did not have knowledge about a responsible party’s role – an example being the claims against the Catholic Church arising from the cover-up of complaints and prior assaults. Additionally, if the victim was under 18 when the crime occurred, they could bring a civil lawsuit until their 30th birthday. An attorney can help you evaluate in more details the deadlines which would apply to your claim, and to any changes in the law (it is expected that these deadlines will be reconsidered in New Hampshire during the 2020 legislative session).
A skilled personal injury lawyer in Manchester or other parts of New Hampshire can help the victim evaluate whether the victim will be able to obtain just compensation. In many instances the perpetrators of sexual abuse, rape, or assault often do not possess personal assets to cover the victim’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages; and even when the perpetrator has insurance – for example, a homeowner’s insurance policy – his or her insurance will typically not provide any coverage for intentional wrongful conduct. However, there are exceptions, particularly when some other entity put the victim in harms way. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you evaluate who might be responsible and your options with regard to pursuing a claim.
Recovering Damages After a Sexual Assault in New Hampshire
In some cases, the only viable option to successfully recover damages is by bringing a civil lawsuit against institutional defendants. In other words, the victim might be able to sue the perpetrator’s employer, daycare center, school, church, religious organization, or other agencies or institutions that:
- Employed the perpetrator
- Harbored the perpetrator
- Hired, trained, or retained the attacker
- Knew or should have known of the perpetrator’s inclinations toward sexual violence
The victim will have to show evidence that the institution owed a duty of care to protect against the perpetrator. But in many of the cases we have handles it was the institutional defendant who put the perpetrator in the position to perform the assault, betraying the victim who had trusted the defendant to protect them from such perpetrators. When you send you kids to daycare, for example, you should be able to count on the daycare provider being careful with regard to who is hired, and then to properly oversee and respond to complaints regarding employees. When this doesn’t happen, every child is at risk. This same issue applies in a variety of setting.
Discuss your particular case with a Manchester personal injury attorney at the Law Office of Manning Zimmerman & Oliveira PLLC. We can help you understand all your options. Call at 603-624-7200 or 800-984-3151 to get a free consultation.