Note: This content is for informational purposes only. Our law firm does not handle matters involving sexual assault.
Were you or a loved one sexually assaulted in Fort Walton Beach, FL? Even if criminal charges are pending, an experienced Fort Walton Beach sexual assault lawyer can help you fight to recover financial compensation. Contact Brannon & Brannon to learn more about your right to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering.
Our lawyers have won millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts since we opened our doors. We have over 60 years of combined experience handling complex and sensitive personal injury cases.
How Brannon & Brannon Can Help With a Sexual Assault Claim in Fort Walton Beach
You deserve justice if you’ve been sexually assaulted. While your attacker may face charges in Florida criminal courts, a conviction doesn’t help you secure the medical care and mental health treatment you deserve. It doesn’t make up for missed days at work and damage to your career.
An experienced personal injury lawyer in Fort Walton Beach can help you file a personal injury lawsuit and fight to secure the money you need to move forward.
Brannon & Brannon is a top law firm in Northwest Florida. We have over 60 years of combined experience and have completed over 75 jury trials. Most importantly, we know the law and are dedicated to recovering the maximum compensation our clients deserve.
We can help by:
- Identifying everyone whose acts allowed the assault to happen
- Finding the proof you need to establish liability
- Obtaining evidence from the criminal defense attorneys
- Hiring experts to testify about causation and your case value
- Handling all insurance negotiations and paperwork
- Standing by your side every step of the way
Money can’t change the past, but it can change your future. Call our Fort Walton Beach personal injury attorneys to get started today.
How Common is Sexual Assault in Fort Walton Beach, FL?
If you’ve been attacked, you’re not alone. Sexual assault and battery is something that can happen to anyone. Sadly, statistics show that someone is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds in the United States. One out of every six women has been a victim of attempted or completed rape.
In Okaloosa County alone, at least 155 forcible sex offenses were reported in 2019. The term “forcible sex offenses” includes rape, attempted rape, and other types of sex crimes.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to trust the data. Rape is the most under-reported crime in the U.S. More than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses don’t report the rape. A Justice Department report in 2016 found that nearly 80% of all sexual assaults aren’t reported to the police.
Overview of Sexual Assault and Battery Laws in Florida
Like every other state, sexual battery is a crime in the state of Florida. Your attacker can be prosecuted, imprisoned, and required to register as a sex offender if convicted. However, sexual assault is also an intentional tort.
Intentional torts deal with civil wrongdoing. In addition to criminal justice, victims can seek financial compensation from the parties who caused their attack in civil court.
That’s often surprising to victims of sexual assault. It may also surprise you that someone other than your attacker could be financially responsible for your injuries. You may be entitled to file a lawsuit against anyone whose negligent or wrongful acts allowed the sexual assault to occur.
Examples of potentially responsible parties include:
- Business owners
- Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs
- Landlords and apartment complexes
- Colleges and universities
- School administrators
- Nursing homes
- Parking garages
- Sports complexes
- Shopping malls
- Office buildings
- Your attacker’s employer
- Government agencies
Property owners can be held liable for negligent security under Florida premises liability laws. If you have questions about your legal options, call our Fort Walton Beach sexual assault attorneys for a free case review today.
What is My Fort Walton Beach Sexual Assault Case Worth?
You’ve already suffered through unimaginable trauma. Many victims want to know how much their personal injury case is worth before they decide to take legal action.
The unsatisfying answer is, it depends. Victims of sexual abuse can suffer a wide range of injuries and trauma. The more severe the damage, the higher your settlement or verdict will be.
That value often depends on the following relevant factors:
- The nature of your injuries
- The cost of your medical treatment, counseling and other expenses
- The identities of the responsible parties and the nature of their actions
- Whether the ordeal impacts your ability to work
- Damage to your quality of life and relationships
- Your ongoing PTSD and emotional suffering
Our lawyers will work to identify everyone who played a role in allowing your attack to happen. Often, claims against negligent third parties settle out of court through insurance negotiations. You can count on our lawyers to do everything possible to maximize the value of your personal injury claim.
What Types of Damages Are Available to Victims of Sexual Assault?
You may be entitled to damages under Florida personal injury laws regardless of whether your attacker is located or charged with a crime.
Those damages include money to compensate you for the financial costs associated with the attack and injuries, including compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Psychological counseling
- Nursing care
- Property damage
Non-economic damages compensate for the suffering you’ve been forced to endure. Examples include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Damage to personal relationships
- Physical disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of consortium
In Florida, courts also have the authority to award punitive damages to victims of sexual assault. Punitive damages punish defendants for willful and malicious acts. If your attacker is located, it’s very possible that the court may award punitive damages on top of compensatory damages.
We’ll Fight to Recover Compensation for All of Your Injuries
The damage caused by sexual assault probably extends well beyond your physical injuries. Studies show that about 33% of rape victims contemplate suicide. The psychological damage caused by sexual assault can change you forever.
Our lawyers in Fort Walton Beach will help you fight to recover fair compensation for both your emotional and physical suffering, including:
- Anxiety and depression
- Concussions and brain injuries
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Soft tissue injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Internal injuries, including injuries to the genitals
- Loss of fertility
- Catastrophic injuries
- Wrongful death of a loved one
Don’t hesitate to reach out for legal advice if you’re struggling after a sexual assault. At Brannon & Brannon, we’re here to help in any way we can.
How Do I Establish Liability if I Was Sexually Assaulted in Florida?
Your attacker can be convicted on sex crime charges if state prosecutors can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The standard for recovering damages in personal injury cases is much lower.
You can recover compensation if you can prove that another party’s negligent, intentional or wrongful acts caused your injuries based on a “preponderance of the evidence”. In most personal injury cases, that means proving negligence.
Both your attacker and any negligent third parties can be liable for damages in civil court. Most sexual assault injury cases are based on negligent security. Property owners have a duty to install adequate security to prevent reasonably foreseeable criminal activity.
To satisfy that duty, the owner may be required to:
- Install working locks on doors
- Install locked gates or fences
- Hire security guards
- Provide adequate lighting
- Install security cameras
- Train employees to recognize potential dangers
If the business or property owner would have provided adequate security, your sexual assault may have been prevented. Of course, the scope of the owner’s duty can vary from case to case.
When Should a Property Owner Institute Security Measures?
The owner is only required to take reasonable steps to prevent reasonably foreseeable crimes.
When taking security precautions, owners must consider:
- Prior criminal activity in the neighborhood
- The type of business and whether violence is likely to occur
- Whether future criminal activity is likely on the property
Business owners may also be financially responsible if their employee was your attacker. For example, if you were attacked by a staff member in a hospital or nursing home, the business itself can be liable.
How Long Do I Have to File a Sexual Assault Lawsuit in Florida?
The statute of limitations is four years in Florida. Usually, the four-year clock starts running on the date you were injured. However, you may have more time to file a personal injury lawsuit against your attacker if criminal charges are pending.
Other Florida statutes may affect your claim as well.
Contact an Fort Walton Beach Sexual Assault Lawyer for a Free Consultation
You deserve justice if you were sexually assaulted. That justice might come in many forms. A Fort Walton Beach sexual assault lawyer at Brannon & Brannon can help you get the money you deserve to move forward with your life. When you’re ready to learn more, call for a free case review.