St. Louis Sexual Assault Attorney
Helping victims of sexual harassment, abuse and assault in MO & IL
Sexual abuse can happen in many different ways, including harassment, assault, rape, and other types of abuse. In addition to sex crimes being against the law, these types of crimes can leave a victim with both physical and emotional injuries that can take years, or even decades, from which to heal. If you or a loved one experienced a sexual assault, consider putting an experienced attorney in your corner.
The Hayden Law Firm in St. Louis works to secure justice when you or a loved one were sexually abused or assaulted. We combine compassionate client service with aggressive representation to recover compensation for your injuries and losses – past, present and future. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation. We serve the greater St. Louis area and Illinois.
What types of sexual assault cases does your firm handle?
At The Hayden Law Firm, we help sexual abuse and rape survivors seek compensation and closure for a wide range of sex offenses and assaults, including:
- Rape and attempted rape
- Forced sexual acts of any nature
- Groping and unwanted touching
- Unwanted penetration of any kind
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual exploitation
- Sexual harassment
If you were a victim of any of these behaviors, contact a sexual assault attorney at The Hayden Law Firm to find out how we can help you. It is our mission to hold offenders and other parties accountable for their actions – or their lack of action and protection.
WE GET RESULTS
What is the difference between a civil and criminal sexual abuse case?
The Missouri justice system delineates between civil and criminal liability in many cases. With crimes like sexual assault, the state or federal government will bring criminal charges against the offender and punish them according to the law. With civil liability, however, the legal action revolves around making restitution to the victim. Your attorney at The Hayden Law Firm advocates for you in your civil case.
Sexual assault in Missouri criminal courts
Just like it sounds, criminal courts are entirely about the crime, which in this case would be the sex offender or harasser. These cases are handled by a prosecutor and the goal of these proceedings are for the general good of society – to punish the offender and hand down fines and/or prison sentences on the accused if they are found guilty of their crimes.
Although Missouri offers a Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) fund to victims of certain violent crimes, payment is not guaranteed. Working with an experienced attorney on a civil lawsuit can help pursue proper and fair compensation for your physical and emotional trauma.
Further, because criminal court decisions hinge on proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” many victims may only find justice via a civil lawsuit.
Sexual assault in Missouri civil courts
The civil justice system, on the other hand, focuses on victims and survivors of sex crimes. Civil and trial attorneys, like us here at The Hayden Law Firm, work on securing compensation for the losses and damages suffered as a result of sexual abuse or assault. These losses can include things like medical bills, lost income, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other damages resulting from the assault.
The main difference between civil and criminal proceedings is that civil proceedings have a lesser burden of truth. While a criminal court decision is made based on proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a civil decision requires only a “preponderance of evidence.” What this means is that a jury must believe that your case, as the victim, is more likely true than not. Further, even if your abuser is not found guilty in criminal court, they can still be punished in civil court – and it is our goal to ensure that happens.
What is the Missouri statute of limitation for sexual assault claims?
A statute of limitations is the amount of time a victim has to file legal action. Here in Missouri, there are different statutes of limitations for criminal and civil sexual assault claims, as well as different deadlines for adult and child victims.
Your sexual assault claim attorney can help you determine the correct statute of limitations for your case. In general, Missouri sexual assault claims should be filed:
- For childhood sexual abuse cases,
- Up to 10 years from the victim’s 21st birthday (when the victim was 18 years old or younger)
- Up to three years from the discovery of injury from the assault (physical or psychological)
- For adult sexual abuse cases,
- Up to two years from the assault or abuse
- Up to five years for personal injury claims
Because these different deadlines can be confusing, it is crucial to consult with an experienced St. Louis lawyer as soon as possible after the assault (or discovery of the assault) in order to begin building a strong and strategic case on your behalf.
How do I file a personal injury claim for sexual assault?
Often, victims do not realize that they can and should seek justice from a personal injury action if they have been sexually abused, harassed, or assaulted. Just like any injury victim who suffers harm resulting from an act that was beyond their control, sexual assault victims can also pursue claims for compensation from their attacker, or third parties that acted negligently.
The difference is that you can file your claim in a civil court, not criminal court. However, you can still pursue a civil case while a criminal lawsuit is pending, and vice-versa.
An unfortunate reality many sexual assault victims face is that they may not believe, or have been led to believe, that what they experienced constitutes as an assault that can be pursued in civil court. In fact, statistics show only 310 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to the authorities. Underreporting could be because of shame, embarrassment, fear of retaliation, or simply that the victim believes that what they went through was not serious enough to take to court.
This could not be more untrue. Let The Hayden Law Firm advocate for your rights and secure justice on your behalf. We can help.
Who can be held liable in a St. Louis sexual assault case?
Depending on the facts of the case, the liable party is usually your assailant or harasser. However, victims may also bring forth civil lawsuits against third parties who bear legal accountability for what happened to you. For example, if your child was sexually abused by a teacher at school, the school system may also be a liable party for failing to protect students from a sexual predator.
Or, if you were sexually assaulted in a parking garage, you may hold that premises liable for their failure to provide adequate security measures.
In cases such as this, you (as the plaintiff) must be able to prove negligence on part of the third party. The elements of negligence include:
- The defendant had a legal obligation to the injured party to keep them safe from harm
- The defendant breached this legal duty of care
- In failing to uphold this duty, the defendant caused the emotional or physical injuries suffered by the victim
- The victim suffered losses as a result of these injuries
Common liable parties include establishments like churches, schools, youth organizations, sports programs, apartment complexes, medical facilities, nursing homes, and government entities. Facing these entities alone can be complicated and intimidating, which is why you need the experience of a St. Louis sexual assault and injury lawyer on your side.
Is your sexual abuse attorney near me?
The Hayden Law Firm is located in the historic St. Louis neighborhood of Clayton-Tamm, but we serve all Missouri and Illinois. Rest assured, however, that if you are unable to come to St. Louis, we will travel to visit you. We also offer virtual conferences and telephone consultations.
Am I eligible for financial compensation for my sexual assault claim?
While a criminal conviction can offer some level of justice for the victim, it may not always cover everything. Physical and psychological injuries from sexual abuse or assault can, and typically do, last long after the actual incident takes place. Pursuing a personal injury claim can help victims of these unconscionable acts receive fair compensation for the financial and emotional losses they endured, and it can also help them gain justice and closure.
Damages awarded in a sexual assault personal injury claim may cover:
- Medical bills related to the assault, current and future
- Loss of employment or wages, and future earning capacity
- Psychological trauma and/or emotional counseling
- Loss of enjoyment/quality of life
- Pain and suffering
We consider a number of factors when determining the amount of compensation in a sexual assault personal injury claim. It depends on the specific circumstances of the assault, the amount of costs you incurred, the severity of damages you suffered, and other factors relating to the facts of your case. What we do know is that we demand the proper and fair amount of compensation to which you are entitled, and nothing less.
We get you the results you need when you need them most.
Contact a skilled St. Louis sexual assault attorney today
If you or someone you love have experienced injury, physically or psychologically, as a result of a sexual assault, The Hayden Law Firm can help. We believe victims and survivors of sexual abuse and stand ready to protect you in court, holding the right people accountable for the harm they caused. Please call our offices at 314-480-3100 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-risk consultation. We are based in St. Louis, MO, but our firm proudly serves clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.