We rarely think about sexual assault in medical facilities, but the reality is that it happens. Patients are sexually assaulted in the place they go to for treatment and care – an appalling breach of duty.
If you were sexually assaulted at a medical facility in Dallas, you could be entitled to compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial harm. This article explains what you should do next to protect your legal rights.
Steps to Take After a Sexual Assault at a Medical Facility
Your health and well-being are the top priority. Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. You may also want to consider counseling or mental health therapy to assist with the emotional trauma of a sexual assault. Medical records will be a crucial piece of evidence in a claim against the medical facility and other responsible parties.
As soon as you can, schedule a meeting with a Dallas sexual assault lawyer. We can provide guidance and support as you file a police report for the assault. We can also handle all communications with the parties involved in your case so you can focus on recovery instead of dealing with these details.
Proving Liability for Sexual Assault at a Medical Facility in Dallas, Texas
If the state brings criminal charges against your attacker, it has the burden of proving the case. The prosecutor will handle the criminal case, which is separate from a civil claim for personal injury.
However, as the victim in a personal injury matter, you have the burden of proof in a civil case. A lawyer can investigate what happened to you to gather evidence proving the elements of your claim.
The burden of proof in a civil case is lower than the burden of proof in a criminal matter. However, you must build a strong case against the medical facility to recover damages.
Evidence used to prove liability for a sexual assault claim against a medical facility includes, but is not limited to:
- Testimony from the victim
- Medical records
- Surveillance camera videos
- Photographs of injuries
- Eyewitness testimony
- Opinions from medical specialists, mental health professionals, and other expert witnesses
- Biological evidence, including fingerprints, DNA, etc.
- Physical evidence
- Sexual assault forensic examination
The person who committed the sexual abuse can be criminally and civilly liable for their actions. They might face criminal penalties, including jail. A court might also find them financially responsible for your damages.
However, the medical facility may also be liable for your losses. General negligence claims could include negligent hiring practices and security procedures. If the medical facility breached the duty of care owed to you, it may be accountable.
The medical facility could also be liable under vicarious liability principles. Vicarious liability holds an employer responsible for torts employees commit while on the job. A Dallas personal injury attorney can pursue all available claims against each party liable for the sexual assault.
What Damages Could Be Available in a Medical Facility Sexual Assault Claim?
Victims of medical facility sexual assault sustain various forms of harm. In addition to the mental and physical injuries caused by sexual assault, individuals also incur financial losses.
Texas personal injury laws provide compensatory damages for non-economic damages, including:
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Diminished quality of life
You can also receive reimbursement and compensation for your economic damages or monetary losses, including:
- The cost of medical treatment and care
- Mental health counseling and therapy
- Loss of income, including benefits and future lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- A decrease in future earning capacity
In some cases, a victim might receive punitive damages. Juries award punitive damages to “punish” the parties responsible for the sexual assault.
The value of a sexual assault injury case depends on the facts. For example, if you sustain permanent impairments, the value of your claim should increase because damages are higher. The length of recovery and your ability to return to work and normal activities also impact a claim’s value.
A Dallas personal injury lawyer can analyze all factors in your case and get you the compensation you deserve.
Examples of Sexual Assault at a Medical Facility in Dallas, TX
Sexual assault takes many forms.
Examples of sexual assault at a medical facility include, but are not limited to:
- Exchanging sexual favors for medical care
- Inappropriately touching a patient during procedures or examinations
- Coercing or manipulating a patient into engaging in sexual acts
- Sexual conduct when a patient is under anesthesia
- Making sexual jokes and comments, engaging in sexually suggestive conversation, and making lewd comments
- Non-consensual sexual contact and rape
- Sexual exploitation, including taking sexually explicit photos or videos of a patient
- Inappropriate use of materials or medical devices
The medical facility has a duty of care to investigate all allegations of sexual assault or abuse that occur on the grounds. However, the facility may be more concerned with protecting its reputation and avoiding liability than protecting patients. A Dallas personal injury attorney can investigate the claim and work to hold the facility responsible for its negligence and wrongdoing.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against a Medical Facility in Texas?
Most personal injury cases have a two-year deadline in Texas, meaning you must file a lawsuit within two years of the injury, or the court can dismiss your case.
However, these cases are complex, and there could be exceptions depending on the facts of your claim. For example, if a government entity owns the medical facility, the time to file a claim could be shorter. On the other hand, if the victim is a minor, the statute of limitations could be longer.
Because you don’t want to lose your right to take your case to court, you need to seek legal advice as soon as possible after being sexually assaulted at a medical facility in Dallas, TX.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Dallas Sexual Assault Injury Lawyer To Discuss Your Legal Rights
If you’ve been sexually assaulted at a Dallas medical facility, you’ve been through a traumatic event and may be uneasy discussing what happened to you. Our compassionate legal team is here for you. We offer a confidential consultation for you to learn about your legal options and how we can help you hold the parties responsible for the assault liable for the harm you suffered. Call Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers at (214) 855-1420.