Compassionate Representation for Sexual Assault and Abuse Victims in Kerrville and the Texas Hill Country
Dedicated pursuit of civil damages against negligent institutions
Sexual assault can do immense, lasting harm to victims. Long after the physical pain has subsided, the emotional suffering continues. At the Law Firm of Richard L. Ellison, P.C., I stand up for the rights of victims of sexual assault. As a board-certified civil trial lawyer by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, I pursue damages against perpetrators of sexual assault and negligent third parties responsible for conditions that allowed the assault to happen. If you are the victim of sexual assault in Kerrville or vicinity, there is no reason to suffer in silence. I have more than 40 years of experience delivering justice to injured victims, and I am prepared to fight for you.
Your right to recover against the perpetrator
Personal injury law allows you to recover compensation for your losses, including pain and suffering, against anyone who has done you deliberate harm. If the perpetrator of your assault has been convicted, you can use that judgment as evidence in your civil lawsuit. If there has been no criminal case, you must prove the assault happened by a preponderance of the evidence in order to recover damages.
There are two major considerations for a lawsuit against a perpetrator:
- Available assets — Civil lawsuits are expensive to prosecute, and unless the perpetrator of the assault has significant assets, there may be no way to collect a judgment even if you win. Since sexual assault is a deliberate act, insurance will not cover the perpetrator’s liability. This makes prosecuting such a lawsuit very speculative.
- Statute of limitations — Texas has a special statute for civil lawsuits arising from sex crimes. Generally, the plaintiff must file suit within five years of the assault. However, if the victim was a minor at the time of the assault, the statute of limitations does not start until the victim’s 18th birthday, after which the victim has five years to file suit.
Fortunately, the perpetrator is not the only party who might be found liable for a sexual assault.
Civil liability for negligent hiring and supervision
When the perpetrator is an employee of an institution, that entity could be liable under a theory of negligent hiring and supervision. Such a claim states that because authorities at the institution did not do a thorough background check, overlooked red flags, or didn’t check the employee’s behavior closely, the institution bears some responsibility for the assault. Cases are strongest where authorities at the institution knew or should have known the employee was up to no good.
Any institution that cares for a population vulnerable to a sexual predator can be liable for failing to protect members of that population. Common institutions where sexual assaults occur include:
- Daycare centers
- Healthcare providers
- Nursing homes
- Places of worship
- Summer camps
Making these cases is complex, and requires experience investigating employment records and the institution’s protocols and practices. Interviews with potential witnesses are also very important in building the case.
Premises liability for failure to provide adequate security
Premises liability is the area of the law that holds landlords accountable for hazardous conditions on their property when those conditions cause harm to visitors. Lack of security is a hazardous condition, especially when the property is in an area prone to crime. Lack of security is based on reasonable standards for the type of property. The absence of lighting and surveillance cameras and broken or missing locks can be evidence of a landlord’s negligence in providing security.
Places where sexual assaults can occur when security is lacking include:
- Apartment buildings
- College campuses
- Hotels and motels
- Office buildings
- Parking lots and garages
- Theme parks
- Shopping malls
Premises liability cases are complex because the case is based almost entirely on whether a landlord’s behavior was reasonable under the circumstances. Proving negligence requires an exhaustive investigation and a detailed presentation of facts related to what the landlord knew or should have known, supported by physical and testimonial evidence. In short, it requires the type of knowledge, experience, and skill you can only get from a board-certified civil trial trial lawyer.
Contact a board-certified civil trial lawyer in Kerrville and the Texas Hill Country for your sexual abuse claim
If you are suffering the aftermath of a sexual assault, a civil lawsuit can bring compensation and closure. At the Law Firm of Richard L. Ellison, P.C., I fight to deliver the maximum possible recovery for victims of sexual assault. To schedule an appointment with a board-certified civil trial lawyer, call 830-955-8168 or contact my Kerrville office online.