Sexual assault is one of the most devastating experiences for anyone to endure. Now more than ever, victims are bravely coming out to name their perpetrators of this horrendous crime, and it is important this trend continues in an upward trajectory until all responsible for sexual assault are held responsible for their heinous actions. If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual assault, it is important you take the time to enlist our services of Duncan Law Group, where we are led by trusted and dedicated Chicago sexual assault attorneys.
Generally speaking, sexual assault is any kind of sexual activity you do not expressly agree or consent to. Without your express authorization, no one is permitted to touch you or to otherwise put you in a situation you do not want to be in. If this occurs, you must act fast–we will focus on collecting evidence at a rapid pace, while you focus otherwise on moving forward from this traumatic event as best as you possibly can.
Sexual assault occurs when another person performs sexual acts on you without your consent. In Illinois, consent refers to a freely given agreement prior to the sexual conduct in question — this means the consent must be explicit, informed, and voluntary. You must understand the nature of the sex act to give consent.
The other person involved cannot use force or the threat of force to obtain your consent. You cannot legally provide consent if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, unconscious, physically or developmentally disabled, or do not have the mental incapacity to understand the act.
You do not have to fight your attacker or verbally express your lack of consent for sexual assault to occur. If the perpetrator knew or should have reasonably known that you did not give consent or could not legally consent, he or she commits an act of sexual assault.
After a sexual assault, you may wonder what your legal options are. There are two pathways you can follow: you can file criminal charges against the perpetrator, and you can file a civil lawsuit to collect compensatory damages for the losses you suffered due to the assault.
You can pursue civil and criminal charges at the same time, and you can pursue criminal or civil charges even after another process concluded. These concurrent charges are possible because the civil court process involves different proceedings — and intentions — from a criminal court. This distinction is why you can pursue two separate types of charges for the same crime.
The purpose of criminal charges is to punish the perpetrator for his or her actions. At the end of a criminal trial, the court will define penalties for the perpetrator to complete, such as jail time, community service, and fines. However, you may suffer from serious physical, emotional, and financial damages following the assault, which a criminal trial provides no reparations for.
A civil lawsuit allows you to collect compensation for the losses you endured due to the assault. At the conclusion of a civil lawsuit, the court will determine whether or not you suffered harm due to the negligent actions of the perpetrator, whether or not you deserve a settlement, and the amount of that settlement.
Illinois law allows you to collect both economic and non-economic damages following a sexual assault. While economic damages involve your financial losses, non-economic damages concern your physical and emotional pain and suffering.
In certain cases, you may qualify for punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. Illinois courts allow you to recover these damages if they find that the perpetrator’s conduct was fraudulent, intentional, or willful and wanton. Sexual assault claims often meet these criteria; your attorney at Duncan Law Group will advise you on the types of compensation you may qualify for.
For a Chicago personal injury lawyer who will treat you and your case with the attention to detail and care you have been seeking, look no further than Duncan Law Group. Our firm refuses to back down from a challenge, and we are particularly passionate about advocating on behalf of those who have been sexually abused or assaulted. We won’t rest until justice is served–allow us to be your allies throughout this undoubtedly difficult time.
Don’t hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience by calling (312) 202-3283.