Rape and Sexual Assault Attorney in Philadelphia

OVER $165 MILLION RECOVERED FOR OUR CLIENTS

Rape and sexual assault in Philadelphia are a serious problem that hurts real people. A person can be a man, woman, or child and the event can occur at any time of day in any place. Yet, these victims often do not know their rights and do not know they can receive additional money for their suffering through civil court. The case does not need to be won in criminal court for a civil case to be filed or won. For the past 25 years, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group in Philadelphia have helped victims of rape and sexual abuse get the justice they deserve.

What Is a Civil Claim for Rape and Sexual Assault in Philadelphia?

Rape and sexual assault are criminal actions. Many rape and sexual assault cases go unreported to the police, leaving victims without any opportunities to obtain justice. However, once a victim reports the assault to the police and presses charges to bring the case to court, the victim has the right to also collect damages in civil court through a civil lawsuit. The victim does not need to win his or her case in criminal court, yet he or she has the right to sue in civil court to attempt to collect damages and make him or her whole again.

What Is the Difference Between a Criminal Case and Civil Case for Rape and Sexual Assault in Philadelphia?

There are several differences between criminal court and civil court in Philadelphia rape and sexual assault cases. First, in criminal court, the rapist must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that it may be more difficult to prove a rape case in Philadelphia criminal court. Philadelphia criminal court may offer some restitution, however, the amount is usually small and in no way covers the expenses associated with therapies, medical exams, and lost wages you often experience as the victim of rape or sexual assault. Furthermore, the Pennsylvania Crime Victim Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) will only award a maximum of $35,000 to help cover your medical bills and/or lost wages.

Filing your claim in civil court in Philadelphia can have a much different outcome for several reasons. First, civil court only needs to prove that the rape or sexual assault could have happened. This is called a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that even if the case is not won criminal court the rapist is allowed to roam the streets as a free man or woman, you can still file and win a civil lawsuit for rape or sexual assault. In addition, the amount of money awarded through civil court is much higher since it is not public money. You may be awarded thousands to even millions of dollars for your ordeal, as opposed to the amount given through restitution and VCAP.

What Are Some Examples of Rape or Sexual Assault Situations in Philadelphia?

Rape and sexual assault can happen in any situation, any place in time, and to anyone. Some victims question whether they were raped or sexually assaulted because of various reasons, such as, they eventually consented or there was no penetration. However, these types of issues do not necessarily mean that rape or sexual assault did not occur. Here are some examples of rape and sexual assault situations in Philadelphia:

  • Unwanted sexual contact
  • Sex with coerced or forced consent
  • Date rape
  • Sex while you are sleeping
  • Sex while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Violent sexual penetration
  • Unwanted sexual acts that do not include vaginal or anal penetration
  • Sexual acts between a teacher and minor student (consensual or not)
  • Unwanted sexual contact from a medical provider
  • Voyeurism
  • Flashing
  • Forcing a person to watch pornography
What Is the Statute of Limitations to File a Civil Case for Rape and Sexual Assault in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia’s time limit to file a lawsuit for rape or sexual assault depends on whether the victim is over or under the age of 18. A victim over the age of 18 has 2 years from the date of the incident to file a complaint in Philadelphia civil courts for rape or sexual assault.

A victim under the age of 18 is considered a minor. Philadelphia law allows a minor an additional 12 years from the date he or she turns 18 to file the claim in Philadelphia civil court.

What Remedies Are Available in Civil Court for a Rape or Sexual Assault Claim in Philadelphia?

Civil Court is where the victim is able to obtain compensation for the pain and suffering and loss of money resulting from rape. Some of the remedies available through the Philadelphia civil courts include:

  • Reimbursement of medical expenses
  • Payment for lost wages
  • Reimbursement for therapies and other related expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages
A Few Resources to Help Deal with the Aftermath of Rape or Sexual Assault

As a victim of sexual assault or rape, you will likely need the help of resources, friends, and family to help deal with the aftermath. Here are some resources that can help you recover from this ordeal:

  1. RAINN. RAINN is the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network. The organization helps people who have been sexually assaulted or abused by providing a hotline and access to their partners, including therapists, medical providers, and any other resources a victim may need
  2. Safe Horizon. Safe Horizon is an organization that helps rape and sexual assault victims find the resources needed to recover and move on from the attack.
  3. 1in6. 1in6 is a group designated to help men who are victims of rape and sexual assault. The organization provides resources for men as well as the Bristlecone Project, which shows portraits, videos, and written accounts of men who have been victims of sexual assault.
Contact Our Experienced Rape and Sexual Assault in Philadelphia for Your Free Consultation

Rape and sexual assault are not anything to be taken lightly. Even when the assailant does not get the book thrown at him or her, you can bring them to civil court and make them pay with their wallet. If you are the victim of rape or sexual assault, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group in Philadelphia can help. Contact us today at (215) 391-4790 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your lawsuit.

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