Tennessee Sexual Assault & Abuse Laws
For those who have been the victim of a sexual assault or sexual abuse have the ability to pursue justice by way of criminal court as well as civil court. Each of these options will vary considerably when it comes to the necessity of proof, the victim’s role in the process, and their underlying intent.
At InjuryTN, our firm is dedicated to protecting the rights and future interests of sexual abuse and assault victims. Actually, our attorneys have been fighting to defend the rights of victims and their families in Middle Tennessee for almost three decades. We know the entirety of the legal proceedings can be strenuous and unpleasant, but it is of utmost importance that we hold violators of such heinous crimes liable for their actions and provide victims with the resources critical to their rehabilitation.
Our firm assists those who have been the victim of childhood as well as adult sexual assault or abuse. Every case is handled uniquely, particularly depending on how much time has elapsed since the incident(s) occurred.
Criminal Cases vs. Civil Cases
- Guilt MUST be proven beyond a reasonable doubt
- Prosecutor is in control and makes all key decisions, victim serves as witness
- Overarching goal is for the offender to receive legal punishment, even if compensation has been awarded
- Determines guilt by a preponderance of evidence
- Victim is in control of major decisions, such as whether or not to file suits, accept or decline settlement offers, and take the case to trial
- Primary focus is the rehabilitation of the victim
Sexual Assault in Middle Tennessee
Frequently, such cases may involve a trusted person or institution, which can make comprehension of what is occurring difficult for victims and their families. Finding the courage to take legal action is a huge and difficult step in these cases, too. That’s why our empathetic team of personal injury lawyers work diligently to make sure that victims’ voices can be heard and that their case ends in the most preferable outcome.
It’s also worth noting that due to the varying proof burdens between criminal and civil cases, pursuing civil action against the offender is possible, even if they have not faced an arrest or conviction. While it might be more straightforward for the plaintiff in a civil suit to succeed if the defendant has been convicted in criminal court, it is not necessarily needed to achieve a favorable ruling.
Throughout the process of litigation for sexual assault cases, the victim of the assault may not be the only one with a cause for action. All too often, we see that cases involve children, who might also have cause, in addition to their legal guardian(s). Likewise, in cases involving adult victims of sexual assault, the victim’s spouse might hold the right to damages in the event that they are able to exhibit how the abuse influenced their relationship.
Get the Help You Deserve
If you or someone you love has been the victim of sexual assault or abuse, you need qualified legal representation to move forward. Contact our office to schedule your FREE initial consultation today!
Sexual Assault Lawsuits
When seeking compensation in sexual assault or abuse cases through civil litigation, you first need to identify a “cause of action.” Different from criminal cases, civil liability contains no cause of action referred to as “sexual abuse.” So, instead, plaintiff’s will have the ability to allege the following:
- False imprisonment
- Inadequate security
- Premises Liability
- Intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress
- Negligent hiring or retention
- Negligent supervision
An experienced personal injury attorney in Nashville will be able to assist you in developing a strategy that will work for your specific situation, which will be determined by the identity as well as position of the defendant(s).
Financial restitution is not the only form of compensation available to victims of sexual assault and abuse, they may additionally be able to acquire alternative benefits through civil litigation. In some cases involving charges brought against an assailant, victims may be able to pursue at the very least an apology and acknowledgement of the crime, a transfer of schools or jobs, or even a donation to the victim’s choice of charitable institution. With cases involving third parties (such as businesses or institutions), victims may also pursue negotiations for settlement which would prevent damages of potential victims as well as provide monetary restitution. Frequently with sexual assault or abuse cases, employers may concur with implementing sexual assault training or the revision of company policies regarding the hiring and continued employment of offenders.
Tennessee’s Statute of Limitations in Sexual Assault & Abuse Cases
In cases such as these, the laws regarding statutes of limitations can be relatively intricate. Specific types of cases involving rape, such as aggravated rape, which may involve a weapon of some sort, numerous assailants, underage victims, or severe injuries to the victim as a result, do not have a statute of limitations in Tennessee criminal law. But, the majority of prosecutions will be required to occur within a span of four years from the date of the incident. There are, however, exemptions to this rule, like in cases where the presence of DNA evidence has brought about the identification and conviction of an alleged rapist multiple years following the crime.
Meanwhile, civil cases generally require claims of sexual assault or abuse to be filed within 4 years of the incident’s occurrence, with some special exceptions for victims who are underage. For these underage victims, claims are required to be brought within 7 years of the victim turning 18 years old, 4 years following the victim’s departure from the abuser, or 4 years from the time that the injury as well as relationship were discovered.
The expiration of the statute of limitations for your case may vary because of the complex nature of sexual assault cases, especially when the victim of child sexual abuse or assault is now an adult.
Experience You Can Count On
If you or someone you love is a victim of sexual assault or abuse in Middle Tennessee, contact InjuryTN to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation to start protecting your rights today. Our firm offers all personal injury cases on a contingency plan, which means there will be no fees until we win your case. In the event that you are unable to stop by our office for an in-person meeting, our attorneys are happy to meet you at your home or in your hospital room.