The injuries from both physical and sexual assault, or abuse, are devastating, and can take years to heal. All too often, the abuse comes from somebody who is close and trusted, and in a position of authority. Particularly in cases of sexual assault, the scars go far beyond the physical, and can be life changing in all of the worst ways. Between the secrecy, coercion, and control exercised by everybody involved, it can be difficult to come to the most important realization: it is not your fault.
The most common aftereffects of a physical or sexual assault are:
- Survivor’s guilt, leading one to blame themselves for the assault, even though they were not at fault.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, with symptoms such as flashbacks, anxiety, nightmares, and uncontrollable thoughts about the assault.
- Depression, which can include symptoms such as hopelessness, loss of energy, changes in appetite, loss of interest in activities one once enjoyed, and in a worst-case, suicidal thoughts and even attempted suicide.
- Disassociation, where one deals with the trauma by “checking out” – when this becomes chronic, it can severely impact one’s ability to live one’s life.
When Do I Need a Lawyer After a Physical or Sexual Assault?
While there is a degree to which a physical or sexual assault is handled by the police and the criminal courts, it still leaves long-lasting damage. Your quality of life suffers, and you can spend years in therapy, as well as dealing with a number of expenses for medication and the additional support you now require. As such, after a physical or sexual assault, you are entitled to compensation – and the process of gaining that compensation can provide vindication, closure, and help you reclaim your life.
Where this compensation comes from depends a great deal on the circumstances of the assault. If it was within your family, or by an individual who was not in a position of any authority, you will likely need to sue your assailant. If your assailant was a supervisor or held some authority at a workplace or institution, the organization that placed them in a position to assault you may also be liable.
Gaining this compensation can be particularly hard. Unlike cases of accidental personal injury, it requires you to confront those who have deliberately caused you harm, and will likely seek to discredit and harm you again during the proceedings. It is vital to have an advocate – somebody who can represent you, provide emotional and moral support throughout the process, speak for you, and protect you when you need to speak for yourself.
The best way to hold the responsible party accountable and gain the compensation you are due is to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A qualified personal injury lawyer can determine where you need to go for compensation, provide the representation and protection you need throughout the legal process, ensure that a settlement offer is reasonable after a lawsuit has begun, and, if it becomes necessary, represent you in court to get the justice you and your family deserves.
What Should I Do After a Physical or Sexual Assault?
For best results after suffering a physical or sexual assault, there are a number of steps you should take as soon as possible:
- Gather as much information as you can and document what happened.
- If you required medical attention, gather all medical documentation regarding any injuries caused, including all medical bills and related expenses.
- If the assault happened at your workplace, report it to a superior or the Human Resources department, and document that you have reported it and what happened.
- If the assault happened at home or by a family member, or you feel that there is a significant risk of repeated assault, get to a safe place such as a shelter as soon as possible. If the assault is from a spouse or family member, this may require creating an escape plan.
- Document how the lives of you and your family have been impacted by the physical or sexual assault. This includes any additional expenses, no matter how small, as well as any impact to your family life.
Why Lerners after a Physical or Sexual Assault?
If you or a member of your family suffered a physical or sexual assault, Lerners Personal Injury Lawyers can help. Our qualified lawyers have experience and a proven track record of helping survivors of physical and sexual assault get the justice and compensation they deserve. We know how to handle cases ranging from institutional abuse to assault by a family member. More than that, we have the compassion and understanding to help you reclaim and rebuild your life, even in the most difficult moments of the process.