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Personal Injury Lawsuits for Sexual Assault Victims in SC

Personal Injury Lawsuits for Sexual Assault Victims in SC

When people think of sexual assault or abuse, they may imagine the abuser getting away with it and the victim suffering in silence for the rest of their life. Or, they may think of a rapist who is arrested, charged, and convicted and sentenced to jail or prison.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that victims of sexual assault or abuse can and often do file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator in court. If the perpetrator is on the run, or does not have any assets (as is often the case), the victim may file a claim against the property owner or lessee of the premises where the attack occurred.

Why do sexual assault victims sue property owners and lessees? For one, a large percentage of attackers do not have any assets for victims to go after. Secondly, property owners carry large insurance policies to protect them in situations like these.

For example, if a woman was sexually assaulted as she walked to her car in a bar parking lot and the attacker ran off before she could call 911, the woman would have a claim against the bar for having a dark parking lot, or lacking security.

What Types of Third Parties Can Be Sued?

If the perpetrator can be easily identified and apprehended, and he has measurable assets, he can certainly be sued by the victim. But in many cases, a civil suit is filed against a third party where the assault occurred based on negligent security, for failing to provide adequate security on the premises.

The types of additional parties that can be sued include, but are not limited to:

  • Bars
  • Nightclubs
  • Motels & hotels
  • Businesses
  • Schools

A civil lawsuit can be filed for sexual assault or abuse whether or not there is a criminal case. If there is a criminal case, it will be separate and it will not bar the victim from filing a case in civil court to collect money damages. In fact, DNA evidence or a criminal conviction can actually strengthen a plaintiff’s case in civil court.

Related: Who Do I Sue if I’m a Crime Victim?

Are you a crime victim? If so, contact our Columbia, SC personal injury firm to explore your legal options!


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