Every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Every 9 minutes, that victim is a minor. If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you should know that it’s never your fault. A sexual assault has life-long consequences for a victim, and the harmful effects of such a traumatic experience often result in depression, shame, anxiety, and other problems throughout their life.
If you were the victim of sexual assault as a child or an adult, it’s important to remember that there is hope. An experienced attorney can assist you in pursuing a lawsuit and holding your abuser accountable. Read on to learn more about sexual assault settlement amounts and how an attorney can help you move forward.
What Factors Impact Sexual Assault Settlement Amounts?
Each sexual assault case has its own set of facts, and specific factors can affect a sexual assault lawsuit settlement. Your attorney can review the details of your case and determine how these factors may affect the compensation you can expect to receive.
Degree of Sexual Assault
A more severe assault garners a larger sexual assault payout. While it’s difficult to disclose the private facts surrounding your assault, these facts help to hold your abuser responsible. They also assist you in getting the compensation you need to move in a more positive direction.
Impact on Victim’s Life
A sexual assault greatly disrupts a victim’s life in both physical and emotional ways. Victims never heal quickly from such a devastating experience and may be unable to work, struggle to maintain relationships with loved ones, and suffer from severe depression and anxiety. The greater an assault has on a victim’s life, the larger the sexual assault payout.
Duration of Sexual Assault
An assault that repeatedly occurred over time usually earns higher sexual abuse settlement amounts than a single assault.
If a victim is a child or teen, these cases receive a higher sexual assault payout. Minors are considered more vulnerable to predatory behavior and may be unable to process what happened to them until they are much older. As a result, the impact of their assault has more significant long-term effects as compared to an adult.
Predator’s Financial Position
If the abuser is wealthy, this may also increase the average sexual assault settlement amount. An abuser’s wealth can drive your attorney to push for larger settlement values because the abuser can pay for the total value of your harm.
Whether an Institution Was Involved
If your abuser gained access to you through their position as a teacher, clergy member, or other trusted individual, you may be able to seek compensation from the institution they worked for. This is especially true if the institution turned a blind eye to previous incidents of abuse or supported a culture of sexual harassment or assault.
Strength of Evidence
Evidence of your abuse and harm significantly impacts the average sexual assault settlement. Strong evidence includes medical records detailing your abuse solidifying the emotional and psychological damage suffered due to your abuse. There may also be medical records documenting your physical assault. Your attorney may also use experts to prove the extent to which your assault affected your life in various intangible yet substantial ways.
What Damages Do I Recover in a Sexual Assault Payout?
Sexual assault settlement amounts in Washington are composed of economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include direct and calculable losses stemming from your sexual assault and include the following:
- Medical expenses. Medical expenses include hospitalization, medically prescribed psychological treatment, and future medical costs.
- Lost wages. If your sexual assault caused you to miss work, you can recover these losses.
- Loss of future earnings. Many victims find returning to work and maintaining any sense of “normalcy” impossible after such a devastating experience. You are entitled to recover for these losses.
Your attorney gathers documentation to calculate and support your claim for economic damages. Examples of supporting evidence include pay stubs, medical bills, invoices, and other similar documents. Retain all copies to provide to your attorney.
Noneconomic damages represent losses related to the psychological and emotional effects of your experience. Noneconomic damages include the following losses:
- Pain and suffering. These losses represent the physical pain you’ve experienced due to your sexual assault experience.
- Emotional distress. Sexual assault victims often find themselves processing extreme emotional trauma due to what happened to them. Examples of emotional distress include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, a change in personality, and others.
- Loss of consortium. After an assault, many victims find it difficult to engage with their loved ones the same way they did before. For example, victims may be unable to be intimate with their partners or feel emotionally connected to their children due to what happened to them.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. Sexual assault survivors can find it challenging to enjoy doing the same activities they loved before their assault.
These subjective losses are challenging to prove as they cannot easily be established with tangible evidence like economic damages. However, it’s crucial for sexual assault survivors to recover these damages as, for the foreseeable future, these losses significantly impact their daily life. While no amount of money could ever take back the effects of your assault, obtaining these damages as a part of your sexual assault payout may help you get the tools needed to move forward in a healing direction.
For over forty years, the attorneys at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner have been obtaining record verdicts and settlements for their clients. Our attorneys help victims deal with real problems. We understand that it’s never about money but about healing. Your assault impacts every part of your life, including your relationships, career, finances, and happiness, so we focus on helping you regain the joy in your life and the recognition that you are strong and a survivor.
We inform our clients of all the benefits and risks involved in different case strategies so they can make the right decision for themselves. At a time when you may feel much is out of your control, we work to give some of that control back to you. During such a traumatic time, you need an attorney that provides the compassion and experience you need. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn how our attorneys can help you.