Minor Sexually Assaulted In Hospital – $350,000 Settlement
While being treated in a medical facility that allegedly was locked and secure, a young girl was sexually assaulted by an older male patient. As a result, she suffered permanent emotional and physical trauma and incurred significant monetary expenses in her efforts at recovery. A lawsuit was brought on her behalf to help the girl and her family cope with the psychiatric and physical effects of the attack and to provide for her financial support.
Our lawsuit alleged that the facility failed to provide a safe environment for treatment. After hard-fought negotiations with the lawyers for the facility and their insurers, we were able to secure an equitable settlement in the amount of $350,000 and were able to place most of that money in a trust account for the young woman to help her for many years to come.
A Violation of Trust and Authority
A sexual assault can happen under virtually any circumstances and according to some statistics, someone is assaulted every 98 seconds. The perpetrator may be someone either known or completely unknown to the victim and when apprehended, may be charged and prosecuted under rape statutes such as those in Illinois. Or the offender may be a person known to the victim and in a position of trust or authority in relation to them. Neither scenario is any more or less egregious than the other, but they are different. In either situation, a lawsuit seeking monetary damages can be filed against the offender.
When one is in a position of authority or trust relative to another person, it comes with great responsibility. A breach of that responsibility is particularly reprehensible because the victim either has placed his/her trust in that person or is in a position where the victim feels unable to challenge their authority. Some examples of this include:
- Police officers
- Foster parents
- Hospital employees
- Priests and other members of the clergy
- Eldercare workers
- Daycare workers
- Nursing home employees
- Boy Scout/Girl Scout leaders
- Psychiatric facility staff
Who Can be Sued in a Sexual Assault Lawsuit?
Obviously, the offender can be sued for monetary damages in any such lawsuit. But as a practical matter, people who commit such crimes against vulnerable victims don’t usually have much or any money to pay a judgement and may be sentenced to jail or prison. In contrast to other personal injury type cases, there also isn’t typically any type of personal insurance that can be accessed and which would cover such acts.
But many times, as in our case settlement as detailed above, other responsible parties can also be sued in addition to the offender; parties which do have insurance coverage that can help compensate the victims. Some examples of other possible 3rd party defendants which might be included in such a lawsuit include:
- An employer who failed to conduct an adequate background check of offender
- An employer who failed to properly supervise the interactions between offender and victim
- Anyone who failed to properly protect the victim who was in their care
- Anyone who placed the victim in an inappropriate or unsafe environment
- A governing body or diocese who failed to take action against clergy known to have committed sexual abuse in the past
- A nursing home who did not take adequate precautions to protect their residents
- A psychiatric facility that fails to separate dangerous or aggressive in-patients
- A daycare center that did not properly screen their workers for criminal backgrounds