Rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse are among the most horrendous experiences a person can endure. After an assault, it is extremely difficult for a victim to concentrate on anything besides his or her own mental, physical, and emotional healing. That healing process can be arduous and costly.
Even when an institutional sexual assault results in criminal conviction, the victim may find his or herself burdened by medical bills and losses unresolved by the criminal justice system. While a criminal trial may provide the families and victims of institutional sexual assault with a degree of justice and satisfaction, it is frequently insufficient.
The ultimate goal of a civil lawsuit against the assailant and the institution is to win monetary compensation for the victim. This monetary compensation serves two main functions: to provide recovery to the victim for his or her damages, and to punish the responsible party or parties for their actions and/or negligence.
Unlike the criminal justice system, a civil claim aims to provide the victim with compensation for his or her damages. Compensatory damages from institutional sexual assault may include:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Psychological and/or emotional problems supported by the diagnoses of medical professionals
- Lost wages/loss of earning capacity
- Rehabilitation or psychological counseling
- Scars or disfigurement
- Physical pain and suffering
- Cost of relocation
- Emotional distress
Any sum awarded to the victim that is meant to punish the responsible party or parties for their actions and/or negligence is known as punitive damages. Under Pennsylvania law, punitive damages are warranted where the acts of the defendant are malicious, wanton, willful, or oppressive, or shows reckless indifference to the interests of others. Instances where punitive damages may be awarded in the institutional sexual assault context can include a school which did not properly report an allegation of sexual assault, or a facility that employed a sex offender without a thorough background check.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of an institutional sexual assault or rape, contact Attorney Andrew Rehmeyer for a free consultation today. As compassionate and experienced attorneys, the team at Rehmeyer & Allatt will work diligently to reduce the burden on the families and victims of institutional sexual assault and get you the compensation that you deserve.