Sexual Assault Attorneys in San Francisco
Sexual assault can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on the life of a survivor. If you suffered sexual assault in the Bay Area, you deserve a San Francisco sexual assault lawyer who will help you evaluate the facts and potential sexual assault claim, and, if a decision is made to move forward with a lawsuit together, will fight zealously on your behalf against the perpetrator who committed the act and the institution that allowed the assault to happen.
The team at Boucher LLP can provide the legal support you need to protect your future and move forward from this difficult time. Understanding more about your legal rights may help calm some of your angst about taking action against those who enabled the perpetrator.
What Is Sexual Assault in California?
California Penal Code Section 243.4 defines sexual assault as touching another person’s intimate part against their will for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse. Sexual assault might be charged as a criminal misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the assault.
In addition to criminal penalties, survivors of sexual assault can bring civil lawsuits for monetary damages. Civil sexual assault cases are often easier to prove than criminal cases because the burden of proof is lower. You may also bring a cause of action against any third parties who are liable for failure to uphold a duty to protect you from the assault.
If you have any concerns over whether you have a valid civil claim for sexual assault, your sexual assault lawyer in San Francisco can listen to the circumstances surrounding what happened to you and help you determine how to best proceed. If you have any concerns over whether or not your experience constitutes sexual assault, please know that an experienced lawyer for sexual assault survivors can help you understand your rights and how the law applies to your situation.
Who Is Liable for Sexual Assault?
The primary offender in a sexual assault claim is, undoubtedly, the perpetrator of the assault. However, in some cases, other entities may also own some of the liability for failure to take reasonable steps to prevent the assault.
It is important to speak openly about the details of your abuse to your San Francisco sexual assault attorney. Though these conversations may be hard, your attorney may be able to provide additional insight into how the actions of an institution may have impacted your assault. Here are some examples where third parties may be liable for sexual assault.
Church Sexual Assault
If the sexual assault occurred at a church or by a church leader, the organization may be held liable. This is especially true if someone with authority knew or should have known that the perpetrator had a propensity for sexual abuse. This has been the case in many Catholic church sexual abuse claims over the last several decades.
School Sexual Assault
Students and staff should always feel safe on campus, and schools are responsible for ensuring that safety. Most school employees are considered “mandated reporters” under California law, which means that they are legally required to report any suspected sexual abuse. If the school leadership negligently enabled the sexual assault, the institution may be held liable.
Workplace Sexual Assault
Employers have a duty to ensure a safe working environment, which includes addressing complaints over sexual misconduct and having a clear protocol for reporting and discipline. Failure to keep employees safe can result in liability for supervisors, the employer, and even parent corporations.
Private Business Sexual Assault
Sexual assault can happen anywhere, but there are some situations that provide easier access for perpetrators. When patronizing a business, you have the right to expect that you will be kept reasonably safe. This means that doors lock correctly, and there is adequate lighting and appropriate security. Some businesses that have higher rates of sexual assault include hotels or motels, nightclubs, and parking structures.
Sexual Assault by a Medical Provider or Caregiver
Hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities may lend themselves to sexual assault for multiple reasons. Patients may be more vulnerable because of medical treatment, mental state, or physical ability to resist the abuse. Patients may also be left alone with one staff member at a time. These facilities are responsible for ensuring the safety of patients by conducting background checks on staff members, having proper staffing, and addressing any complaints that arise.
How Can a San Francisco Sexual Assault Lawyer Help?
Survivors of sexual assault often blame themselves for what happened. It is not your fault. The fault lies in the hands of the perpetrator and any entity that enabled or permitted the behavior. You did not do anything to deserve this, and you do not need to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Perpetrators often rely on survivor’s silence, which often leads to additional instances of assault because they think they can get away with it.
We understand that you have gone through an extremely traumatic experience, and we are here to provide not only legal support with compassion. When you need a sexual assault attorney in San Francisco, the team at Boucher LLP will listen to the facts of your case and help you determine the best path forward, taking your level of comfort into consideration. We can also help you find resources to help you process and move on from your experience so that your abuser can no longer hold power over you.
We are committed to the aggressive pursuit of justice on behalf of our clients. Though no amount of money can ever make up for the harm you suffered, financial compensation can help you take your next step toward healing and recovery. Our attorneys have extensive experience fighting for survivors of sexual assault that have resulted in successful resolution.
Our lawyers for an assault survivor offer a free, confidential consultation to learn more about your case and gain an understanding of what we can do to help. Give us a call or contact us today to schedule an appointment with the San Francisco sexual assault attorneys at Boucher LLP.