Did you or a loved one experience a sexual assault in Clearwater, FL? From physical injuries to mental trauma, the implications are widespread and can last a lifetime. It may be difficult for you to function normally, and you might feel like there is nowhere to turn for help.
A Clearwater sexual assault lawyer cannot turn back time, but they can help you move forward. This includes fighting for monetary damages and holding the perpetrator legally responsible.
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers has over 119 years of combined experience helping injured people in Clearwater, Florida in cases like Clearwater catastrophic injuries, car accidents, brain injuries, slip and fall cases, Clearwater workplace accidents, and more, including sexual assault cases. Our team can help you get justice and become financially whole again after an assault.
Sexual assault is incredibly traumatic. One of the best ways to recover is by surrounding yourself with a supportive team to help you through. Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers can be invaluable members of that team.
How Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You After a Sexual Assault in Clearwater, FL
After a sexual assault, many people choose to call the police. This could result in criminal charges, and the perpetrator may face jail time. However, the burden of proof is higher in a criminal case, and sometimes people aren’t convicted. Furthermore, a criminal case rarely results in making the victim whole.
Most people are unaware that there is also a civil course of action after a sexual assault. That’s when an experienced Clearwater personal injury lawyer comes into play. The team at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers can help you recover monetary damages to pay for medical bills, emotional trauma, and overall life effects.
Our law firm has been helping people since 2001. We are known as “The Aggressive Attorneys” because we never back down from a fight. In a sexual assault case, you need a strong representative by your side.
When you hire us to handle your Clearwater sexual assault case, we will:
- Provide honest legal advice and thoroughly discuss your options
- Investigate the circumstance of the sexual assault
- Collect evidence
- Request medical records
- File insurance claims (if applicable in your case) and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf
- File a personal injury claim
- Keep track of important deadlines and documentation
- Take deposition and interrogatories
- Prepare for trial and argue on your behalf in front of a judge or jury
If you’re ready to move forward, call us to schedule an appointment. Your initial consultation is 100% free with no strings attached. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about your legal options and how our firm can help you through this difficult time.
Many Different Behaviors Are Considered Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is a broad term encompassing many different types of behavior. Sexual assault is non-consensual sexual touching, conduct, or verbal harassment. These behaviors often result in physical or emotional harm.
Some of the most common types of sexual assault are:
- Molestation or sexual touching (like groping)
- Sexual contact through violence or threats of violence
- Sexual intimidation
- Indecent exposure or public masturbation
- Verbal sexual abuse or harassment
- Unwelcome sexual advances
If you aren’t sure whether or not the conduct you experienced constitutes sexual assault, call our office to set up a time to talk.
Survivors of Sexual Assault Can Have Major Physical and Emotional Trauma
Sexual misconduct is very common, but that doesn’t lessen the trauma for survivors. Most victims experience some form of physical or emotional trauma. For some, it can be significant and life-changing.
Depending on how the assault happened, common physical injuries include:
- Genital bleeding, tearing, and bruising
- Sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- Strangulation injuries like collapsed trachea, brain damage, and petechiae
- Bruising on the thighs, arms, and wrists
- Broken or fractured bones
In addition to physical injuries, it’s common for survivors to experience significant emotional trauma. This can come in the form of:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Substance abuse
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Both the physical injuries and emotional trauma have a monetary value. You deserve compensation for all of it. Our sexual assault lawyers in Clearwater will help you value your case so that we can recover the full amount available under the law.
Proving Sexual Assault in Clearwater, Florida
Unlike a criminal case, a civil sexual assault case has a lower burden of proof. The plaintiff must prove the sexual assault by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that it is more likely than not that the defendant committed the assault.
However, in a civil case, you need to prove more than just that the defendant sexually assaulted you. You must also prove that you were harmed and are entitled to damages. To do this, your lawyer will apply one of many different theories.
Some of the theories that your lawyer may apply include:
- Negligent infliction of emotional distress
- Intentional torts like intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, or false imprisonment
- Premises liability, such as negligent security
- Vicarious liability
You should speak to your lawyer about what theory works best in your case. In many cases, it will be an intentional tort theory because sexual assaults are often deliberate. However, the theory may vary depending on the particular defendants in your case.
Sometimes You Can Recover Damages From Multiple Defendants in a Sexual Assault Case
The most obvious defendant in a Clearwater sexual assault case is the actual perpetrator of the assault. However, sometimes this person doesn’t have adequate resources to pay for your damages, or other people contributed to or condoned the assault.
These people and parties may include:
- A negligent employer
- A property owner or business owner
- Schools and/or teachers
- Daycare facilities
- Social organizations
It is important to hold these parties responsible, as well as the perpetrator. For example, if a daycare negligently hires an employee who sexually assaults your child, the daycare should bear partial responsibility for the assault. This will deter them from negligently hiring employees in the future and also increase your chances of a full financial recovery.
The Types of Damages Available To Sexual Assault Victims in Clearwater
Sexual assault victims are entitled to the same damages as other injured people – that is, the amount of damages that will make you whole again.
In Clearwater, the courts categorize damages into three different types. This makes it easier to calculate your full damages.
The categories of damages include:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
Each category has its legal purpose distinct from the others.
Under Florida statutes, economic damages are financial losses that would not have happened but for the injury or sexual assault.
The following are common examples of economic damages:
- Emergency medical bills
- Follow-up treatment
- Cost of surgery
- Pharmaceutical costs
- Therapy and counseling
- Substance abuse treatment
- Lost wages (past and future)
- Lost future income
- Permanent disfigurement
- Out-of-pocket expenses
In many cases, we can prove economic damages by producing receipts, bills, and pay stubs.
Non-economic damages are non-financial losses that would not have happened but for the sexual assault. This category of damage is often called “pain and suffering.” It exists to compensate victims for intangible losses and emotional trauma.
In a sexual assault case, we routinely seek non-economic damages for:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Mental illness (PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, depression)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Calculating non-economic damages can be tricky. That’s because they are highly personal. There is no dollar figure, unlike on a bill or receipt. Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers will use our experience to help you place a value on your non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are different from the previous two categories. This is because instead of paying you for a loss that you experienced, punitive damages punish the defendant. While paying economic and non-economic damages may feel like a punishment for a defendant, it’s to make the plaintiff whole again.
Punitive damages are reserved for the worst types of behavior. You can only request punitive damages if the defendant acted with gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
Gross negligence means that the defendant acted with a conscious disregard for the safety, life, or rights of others. Intentional misconduct means the defendant knew that their behavior would hurt the plaintiff but chose to do it anyway.
Unlike other types of personal injury cases, punitive damages are often available in sexual assault cases. That’s because it is rare that someone unintentionally sexually assaults someone.
How Long Do I Have To File a Sexual Assault Lawsuit in Florida?
In Florida, you have four years to file most sexual assault lawsuits. This is called the statute of limitations. However, there are some exceptions. If the victim is under the age of 16, there is no statute of limitations for a sexual battery case, and in some rare cases, the deadline may be two years.
Since the statute of limitations can be a bit confusing, it’s best to talk with your lawyer early on in the case. You don’t want to risk missing an important deadline and losing your right to recovery. If you miss it, your case will probably be dismissed. By involving a lawyer at the front end, they can keep track of the deadline and explain which one applies.
Set Up a Free Consultation With Our Experienced Clearwater Sexual Assault Lawyers
If you’re ready to get justice, call Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to set up a free consultation. As “The Aggressive Attorneys,” we will do everything in our power to hold the perpetrator accountable. We aren’t afraid of a fight.
Don’t waste any more time being a victim, and take back control of your life. Our Clearwater sexual assault attorneys are available to listen to your story and explain your rights.