Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Attorneys Serving Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas in Illinois and the United States.
The Chicago sexual abuse and assault lawyers at Coplan + Crane are committed to helping survivors of sex crimes achieve the justice and compensation they deserve. Our accomplished team of attorneys possesses the knowledge, skill, and resources necessary to hold abusers accountable for their actions and help survivors move forward with their lives.
At Coplan + Crane, we understand the devastating impact sexual abuse and assault can have on every aspect of a survivor’s life. Our attorneys have dedicated their careers to helping people right the wrongs they have suffered.
If you are the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault, contact Coplan + Crane today online or at (708) 358-8080 for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL CASE EVALUATION. You risk nothing by calling our office. Your initial consultation is completely FREE and you are under no obligation to move forward with our firm. We handle sexual abuse and assault cases on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing if we don’t win. Our nationally-recognized firm helps clients in Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas in Illinois. We also serve clients nationwide.
What Is Considered Sexual Assault?
Generally speaking, the term sexual assault refers to situations in which an individual is forced or coerced by another person to engage in a sexual act. Sexual acts that are unwelcome or were not consented to by victims can constitute sexual assault. Victims of sexual assault do not necessarily have to be physically involved in the act. For example, if a perpetrator forces someone to watch a sexual act, this may be considered sexual assault as well.
There are no federal laws that define which acts are considered sexual assault. It is the responsibility of each state to establish laws that govern these crimes. However, the laws concerning these types of crimes are similar across the country.
Most states subdivide the term “sexual assault” into individual offenses. For example, rape, molestation, and sexual abuse all fall under the category of sexual assault, and each act carries its own punishment.
Who Is Considered a Victim of a Sexual Crime?
As with the definition of sexual assault, the legal definition of sexual assault victim varies from state to state. As a general rule, anyone affected directly by the crime is considered the victim of a sexual crime, regardless of gender or age. Whether the victim is a student at school, an adult in the workplace, a senior at a nursing home, etc., sexual crimes affect every population in the United States.
- Sexual assault of adults: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than half of women – and a third of men – in the U.S. have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes.
- Child sexual abuse: The CDC also reports that approximately 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys in the United States experience child sexual abuse.
Regardless of who experiences sexual assault, the impact of these crimes can last a lifetime. A sexual abuse and assault lawyer can help victims pursue compensation for their economic and non-economic damages.
What Is the Difference Between Criminal and Civil Court for Sexual Abuse?
Civil cases and criminal cases for sexual assault vary in many ways. Three important ways in which these cases differ include:
Criminal trials are focused on the accused instead of the suffering victims have endured. The criminal conviction of a sexual abuser does not compensate the victim in any way financially. Although an abuser may serve jail time and pay fines to criminal courts, this does nothing to help the victim’s physical, emotional, or financial recovery.
In a civil suit, the focus is on the harm done to you and the compensation you deserve.
A civil lawsuit also provides the opportunity to hold other parties responsible for the harm you have suffered. For example, employers, supervisors, or other parties may be held accountable for negligent hiring and/or negligent retention of the perpetrator – or a business may share fault in the attack because of negligent security.
Burden of Proof
There is a significantly lower burden of proof in a civil trial than in a criminal trial. In criminal trials, the burden of proof is on the state, to show that the person is guilty of sexual abuse beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil trial, it must only be shown that the person is guilty of sexual abuse by showing it is more likely than not that the sexual abuse occurred.
Potential Compensation for Sexual Assault and Abuse
Because no two sexual assault cases are exactly the same, compensation in a civil claim will vary from case to case. However, there are a number of losses that are generally considered in these cases. These include:
- Medical expenses
- Mental health counseling
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical impairment
While no amount of money can make up for the violation you suffered, compensation in a sexual assault civil claim can help you receive the care you need and keep you financially afloat during a difficult time.
A sexual abuse and assault lawyer will examine every way in which the attack has affected your life, career, and relationships. Our attorneys will work diligently on your behalf to recover every penny to which you may be entitled under the law.
Do I Need A Lawyer For Sexual Assault?
The decision to begin a legal process for an event you would rather forget about is not easy. However, filing a civil lawsuit may be one of the only ways you can recover compensation for the hardships you’ve suffered and don’t deserve.
Even if a sexual abuse offender receives a prison sentence, a heavy fine, probation, and a lifetime sex offender registration, it does nothing to help you face the many burdens you must endure because of someone else’s crime against you. Criminal verdicts rarely account for long-term medical care, mental health therapy, and other losses a victim suffers. They also don’t usually hold other entities responsible for crimes they may have enabled or offenders that may have protected.
Securing compensation for a sexual abuse crime isn’t easy, but the right lawyer can make a difference in a survivor’s legal concerns. A sexual assault lawyer will seek damages against the party who committed the crime as well as other entities whose negligence may have contributed to the crime or others that may have known about the crime but remained silent.
Beyond financial compensation, achieving justice in a sex abuse case can be a crucial step for survivors on the road to recovery. Through legal victories, survivors are able to receive the treatment they need and reclaim power over their lives and futures.
Sexual Abuse In Professional Settings
Sexual assault and abuse are often committed by an individual, but compensation can be pursued from any organization, corporation, business, or other entity that contributed to the abuse and injuries.
Abuse by Doctors and Medical Professionals
Victims of abuse by medical professionals are entitled to make claims for compensation against not only the sexual offender but other parties that caused or contributed to the crime, including:
- Nursing homes
- Mental health facilities
- Group centers
- Halfway homes
Teacher & School Abuse
Victims of abuse in educational and child care settings are entitled to make claims for compensation against the criminal defendant as well as any other party that caused or contributed to the abuse, including:
- Daycare centers
- Camp programs
- School districts
Priest & Clergy Abuse
Acts of priest and clergy abuse, child molestation, and sexual assault are far too common and often committed by individuals in positions of power and trust. Any person, organization, church, or clergy who actively concealed the abuse or failed to report or prevent abuse after suspecting it is a potential defendant. Other reckless and careless acts that may constitute negligence in these matters include:
- Failure to conduct reasonable background checks on employees
- Failure to prevent abuse
- Failure to report abuse
- Failure to conduct a reasonable investigation
- Hiding or concealing abuse
- Failure to have a policy in place regarding mandatory reporting of abuse
- Failure to train employees abuse policies and protocols
- Negligent security
If you are a victim of sexual assault, you deserve justice. During a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL CASE EVALUATION, the Chicago sexual abuse and assault lawyers at Coplan + Crane will listen to your story, answer your questions, and explain your legal options. We represent sexual assault cases on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing unless we win for you.
Don’t delay. Contact Coplan + Crane online or at (708) 358-8080 now. We welcome clients from Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas throughout Illinois and the United States.