You May Be Able to File a Civil Lawsuit After a Sexual Assault

Serious injuries often result from accidents or unintentional harm in Valley Center and throughout Southern California, but they can also be caused by intentional acts. While many people assume personal injury lawsuits are only possible after motor vehicle crashes, slips and falls, and related types of injuries caused by another party’s negligence, it is essential to know that civil lawsuits can also allow someone who has been injured by an intentional act of violence to seek compensation. In some cases, the liable party (or parties) will include the perpetrator of the act of violence, but it is also possible that other individuals or entities can be held liable for negligence related to the assault. 

In particular, victims of sexual assault in California can be eligible to seek financial compensation through a civil lawsuit, and a relatively new law in the state gives them significantly more time to do so.

Criminal Versus Civil Cases After a Sexual Assault

After a sexual assault occurs in Southern California and the victim reports the violent act to the police, a prosecutor may decide to file criminal charges against the alleged perpetrator, and in some cases, no criminal charges may be brought. Whether or not charges are brought, and whether or not a person is convicted of sexual assault or another sex crime, you may be eligible to file a civil lawsuit after the sexual assault. Further, even if the victim has not reported the sexual assault to law enforcement, they can still file a civil lawsuit. 

To be sure, criminal and civil cases are not connected when it comes to sexual assaults, and in many sexual assault lawsuits, parties other than the alleged perpetrator will be named in the lawsuit. Parties who may be liable for sexual assault include the alleged perpetrator as well as parties whose negligence might have allowed the sexual assault to occur or enabled the perpetrator. Examples of parties who fall into the latter category can include teachers and school administrators, sports coaches, church officials, hospital administrators, and more.

Timetable for Filing a Sexual Assault Civil Claim in California

In order to be eligible to file a sexual assault lawsuit in California, you will need to make sure you file a claim before the statute of limitations runs out. California lawmakers recently changed the law so that survivors of sexual assault have much more time to file a civil lawsuit and seek financial compensation from one or more defendants.

For a victim of sexual assault who is under the age of 18, that person has up until the age of 40 to file a civil lawsuit, or in some cases, within five years of discovering the psychological injury resulting from the sexual assault. The California sexual assault statute of limitations for adult cases that occur (or occurred) on or after January 1, 2019, has a 10-year statute of limitations from the date of the assault. Or, in some cases, a survivor can file a claim within three years from the discovery of their injury due to a sexual assault, which may extend that 10-year window.

Contact a Valley Center Injury Lawyer

If you have questions about filing a civil lawsuit in connection with a sexual assault, you should seek advice from a Valley Center injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information about how we can help you.


See Related Blog Posts:

Suing Churches and Their Leaders for Sexual Assault

Where Do Sexual Assaults Happen and Who Is Liable?


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