Evidence in sexual assault cases is fleeting and temporary. So while you do not necessarily need to file a lawsuit with a Dallas sexual assault victim lawyer right away, you do need to take the proper steps as soon as possible following it– to preserve the evidence, you will need for your case.
What is a SANE Exam?
At Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, we recommend that victims undergo a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) exam, which is a medical forensic exam as soon as possible. It will be performed by a specialized nurse to evaluate and treat any trauma that you experienced, and any possible exposure to infection. They can also refer you to counseling, continuing medical care and collect evidence that may later be used in your sexual assault lawsuit.
Can I Undergo a SANE Exam Even If I Do Not File a Police Report?
You do not necessarily need to file a police report or file a sexual assault lawsuit before undergoing a SANE exam. You have the right to request what is referred to as a non-reported sexual assault medical forensic examination. This serves to gather and preserve as much evidence as possible in a timely manner while also giving you time to decide if and when to file a police report or civil lawsuit. Victims have up to two years to report the crime.
These exams do not necessarily prove that the victim has been sexually assaulted, but they do preserve evidence that may help build a case later in the process. If the assault took place more than 96 hours before the exam, then some evidence may have disappeared by then, meaning that time is of the essence.
What is the Burden of Proof in Civil Sexual Assault Lawsuits?
Civil cases and criminal cases differ in several areas, including the burden of proof required in each. Criminal cases require the plaintiff to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas civil cases only require the plaintiff to prove that it is more likely than not that their version of the facts is true. In simple mathematical terms, the burden of proof in a criminal case would require a figure approaching 100% certainty that the defendant is guilty. In civil claims, though, the jury only needs to find that it is 51% likely that the plaintiff’s version is true.
How Can I Prove That I Was Sexually Assaulted?
There are several different types of evidence that a sexual abuse lawyer may use to help prove your case, including the following:
- Testimony from witnesses that aligns with your version of the facts. This enhances your credibility and does the inverse to the defendant’s. If other victims of this perpetrator also testify, that can help bolster your case.
- Any physical proof that you may have can help your case– whether it is pictures of the scene of the assault, or pictures of cuts, swelling, or bruises on your body. It could also include photos of the accused being in your presence at the time of the assault or evidence (including DNA samples) collected as part of a sexual assault kit. As mentioned above, that is one reason why it is imperative to have a SANE exam performed right away.
- Any records of communication or association with the accused that you have.
- Write down every detail you can recall about the assault itself and about where it took place.
- Even if you do not file a lawsuit with a personal injury lawyer right away, we still recommend that you begin seeing a therapist as soon as possible. Not only can this help you start the healing process, but it can also serve as further official documentation of the assault.
Contact us for a free evaluation
If you have questions about what evidence you will need for your civil case in Texas, call our Dallas sexual assault victim lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP today to arrange your free consultation. Since we work on a contingency-fee-basis, there are no upfront legal fees.