Filing a civil lawsuit in a sexual assault case is a complicated process, but a Dallas sexual assault victim lawyer at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, can serve as your advocate, help you build a substantial case, and connect with local resources to help you get through it. Our compassionate Dallas sexual assault victim lawyers will communicate with you every step of the way, from the early stages of case evaluation, investigation, and negotiations, through discovery, trial, and restitution or appeal.
Contact a Specialist
The first step toward justice involves calling or emailing a law firm to schedule a free consultation. Personal injury firms often handle sexual assault cases. Many of these lawyers primarily deal with car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, or medical malpractice claims, so you need to be sure the firm you contact has the necessary specialization and experience in this practice area. Consultations can be done in-person or over the phone. There is no charge for a consultation, and you are under no obligation to take action. All details of the meeting are protected by attorney-client privilege.
If the case is a good fit for the law firm and they are sure they can help you, you will sign to have a personal injury lawyer represent you. This attorney will work on a contingency-based arrangement, meaning no legal fee is assessed unless a settlement or jury award is recovered. The attorney may ask questions like when and where the abuse took place, the identity of the perpetrator, the types of injuries sustained, what treatment you received or are currently receiving, whether evidence or testimony was or can be collected and whether criminal charges were brought.
Once the essential information is compiled, the attorney will seek to corroborate the facts surrounding your claim. Particular details– such as the color of the car driven by the perpetrator, what the room looked like where you were assaulted, or the last person you talked to before you were victimized– can be very important pieces of the puzzle in establishing you as a credible witness. Your Dallas personal injury attorney works with law enforcement, medical professionals, witnesses, employers, judges, and outside experts to gather additional information.
Once we feel confident in the facts surrounding the event(s), we will send the perpetrator or the defending entity a demand letter, introducing ourselves as your representatives, outlining the claims, and offering to accept a settlement rather than go to trial. We typically base the settlement amount on therapy, medical bills, or lost wages estimates from a forensic economist as proof of a fair demand. In some instances, it is more appropriate to immediately file suit.
The Legal Complaint
Our team files the legal pleadings to pursue damages and pays all court filing fees. At this point, the case becomes a matter of public record that can be read by reporters. In Texas, you can file as a “Jane Doe” or “John Doe.” If the perpetrator’s identity is not known, “Jane Doe” or “John Doe” may also be used, but the lawsuit must be amended within 30 days once the name is revealed.
Discovery is the most extended phase of a civil case that could take months or even years. Plaintiffs must sometimes answer questions in writing or submit to a formal deposition, under oath before a court reporter. Subpoenas may be granted, allowing our Dallas sexual assault victim lawyers access to valuable evidence from the defendant(s).
Subject to our approval and/or Order of the Court, the other side may request personal records and items of yours. They may also seek an independent medical examination (IME). We will oppose early motions to dismiss the case and lead the advancement of the case to trial.
When the evidence is particularly compelling, mediation sessions with a court-approved third party can be productive. Insurance representatives may be present in meetings between plaintiff and defense counsels. Your advocate will present liability, injuries, and damages to see if a settlement can be reached. If the talks hit an impasse, the motions to dismiss are denied, and if the judge cannot see a clear candidate for summary judgment, a trial date will be set.
During a civil trial, the judge and jury consider the argument based on a preponderance of the evidence – meaning that the judge and at least nine out of 12 jury members must believe the crime was 51% or more likely to have happened. Following presentations from both sides and jury deliberation, a jury spokesperson informs the judge, and the judge announces the verdict.
Restitution or Appeal
The case doesn’t always wrap up after the verdict announcement. Since contingency lawyers do not get paid until the plaintiff gets paid, the firm will ensure that the defendant(s) pay up. If the case was unsuccessful, an appeal could be sought to overturn the decision. Your team may have to defend the verdict against the defendant’s appeal as well. While sexual abuse cases can take two to three years to achieve resolution, appeals can add another year or two onto what is already a lengthy process. The good news is: you’ll be working closely with the same designated attorney throughout, so you not only have a legal advocate in your corner but someone you know and trust.
Contact us today for a free consultation
The best Dallas sexual assault victim lawyers understand the significance of pursuing justice. Beyond compensation, survivors seek validation, justice, and empowerment for others in the same situation. If you’re ready to break the silence, a kind, compassionate lifeline is available to you at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP.