Health Care Sexual Abuse

It’s difficult to believe that a trusted healthcare provider would sexually abuse their patients. Unfortunately, it happens more often than people realize. Sexual abuse occurs in all types of healthcare settings, including hospitals, medical facilities, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes. 

Victims of healthcare sexual abuse often suffer emotional, physical, and financial harm. Our Dallas personal injury lawyer helps victims pursue claims for damages. We hold the liable parties financially accountable for their wrongful actions. 

Recognizing Healthcare Sexual Abuse in Dallas, TX

Recognizing Healthcare Sexual Abuse in Dallas, TX

Doctors and healthcare providers may need to look at or touch sensitive and private areas on a patient’s body. However, there is a marked difference between medical treatment and sexual abuse.

Examples of healthcare sexual abuse include, but are not limited to:

  • Demanding sexual acts in exchange for medical services
  • Inappropriately touching a patient during procedures or examinations
  • Making videos or taking pictures of a patient of a sexual nature 
  • Using the healthcare provider’s position of authority to convince or coerce a patient into engaging in sexual contact with the provider
  • Making lewd comments or jokes or having sexually suggestive conversations with a patient
  • Inappropriately using medical devices in a sexual nature 
  • Rape and other forms of non-consensual sexual contact (e.g., sexual assault)

Some forms of healthcare sexual abuse are subtle and difficult to identify. However, it is always best to act on the side of caution. If you believe your healthcare provider sexually abused you, contact our office to discuss your situation with an attorney. 

Who Could Be Liable for Healthcare Sexual Abuse?

The person who committed the sexual abuse can be criminally and civilly liable for their actions. They may face one or more criminal charges for sexually abusing a patient. The criminal penalties could include jail time, fines, registration as a sex offender, and restitution.

The healthcare provider may also be civilly liable for damages. Damages in a civil case compensate the victim for their losses. 

However, the employer or medical facility could also be liable in a healthcare sexual abuse case. Vicarious liability holds an employer responsible for damages when an employee causes harm or injury. However, the sexual abuse must have occurred within the course of employment for the employer to be liable for damages. 

What Damages Can I Receive in a Healthcare Sexual Abuse Claim in Texas?

The damages in a healthcare sexual abuse case include compensation for financial losses (economic damages) and pain and suffering (non-economic damages). 

Examples of damages you could receive if a healthcare provider sexually abused you include:

  • The cost of past and future medical treatment
  • Counseling and therapy
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Scarring and disfigurement 
  • Lost wages and reduction in earning capacity
  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Impairments and disabilities
  • Diminished quality of life

The value of your damages depends on the facts of the claim. A strong case with solid evidence can support maximum recovery for damages. Generally, as the severity of the injuries and harm increases, the value of the case increases. 

You may also be entitled to punitive damages. These damages punish the offender for their actions. However, you must prove that the offender acted with malice, fraud, or gross negligence in causing you harm. 

How To Prove Liability for Healthcare Sexual Abuse in Texas

As the victim, you have the burden of proving that you were sexually abused by a healthcare provider to recover damages. The burden of proof is lower than the proof required in a criminal case. You only need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the healthcare provider sexually abused you.

The legal elements of a healthcare sexual abuse case are:

  • The provider owed you a legal duty of care, generally created by the patient-provider relationship
  • The provider breached the duty of care by sexually abusing you
  • The provider’s breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of your injuries and damages 
  • You sustained harm and damages because of the sexual abuse

Our legal team will investigate to gather evidence we can use to build a case against the healthcare provider. 

Evidence in a healthcare sexual abuse case may include, but is not limited to:

  • Testimony from the victim, alleged abuser, and witnesses
  • Sexual assault forensic exam
  • Medical records
  • Trace evidence
  • Videos and photographs
  • Biological evidence (e.g., fingerprints, DNA, etc.)
  • Expert witness testimony and opinions
  • Records from therapy and counseling 

If you suspect sexual abuse, report it to the authorities immediately. They should arrange for a forensic exam to gather evidence. If not, request a forensic examination at the hospital. 

You may also need to seek medical treatment if the sexual abuse results in an infection or physical injury. Documenting the abuse through medical records and forensic evidence can strengthen your case. 

What Is the Deadline for Filing a Healthcare Sexual Abuse Claim in Texas?

Texas law enforces deadlines for filing lawsuits. A judge can dismiss your healthcare sexual abuse case if you do not file it before the applicable deadline. It won’t matter whether you have a strong case or a valid claim. 

The statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases depends on several factors. Therefore, the facts of your case dictate how much time you have to file. Depending on the type of claim you have, you could have between two and five years to file a lawsuit.

However, it is unwise to assume you have plenty of time to file a healthcare sexual abuse lawsuit. There are exceptions to the statute of limitations. The best way to protect your legal rights is to contact a Dallas healthcare sexual abuse lawyer as soon as possible after the abuse occurs. 

Contact Us for a Free Consultation With a Dallas Healthcare Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Sexual abuse is a difficult subject to discuss. At Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers, our compassionate team provides a free, confidential consultation to help you feel safe discussing your experience. 

Call our office at (214) 855-1420 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation with an experienced Dallas healthcare sexual abuse attorney. We want to help you seek justice for the terrible wrong you suffered at the hands of a medical provider.