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Rape Victim Civil Suit | Madison Attorneys

Can a rape victim file a civil suit for monetary damages? Madison attorneys have answers to this complicated question.

In Madison, attorneys will occasionally get this question. The short answer is yes. The reality is that it’s not quite that simple. The first thing to understand is that a civil suit for money damages in a rape case is completely separate from any criminal charges that may be filed against the alleged rapist.

Civil suits have much shorter statutes of limitations than criminal cases. A district attorney may be able to file criminal charges 10 years after the crime, but a victim has a much shorter time in which to file a civil suit.

The specific amount of time varies from state to state based upon the specifics of the claim. Victims who were minors at the time of the rape are allowed extra time in most states to file a suit after they become adults. Further, most, if not all, insurance policies do not cover damages to third parties caused by an intentional act or rape.  Usually, the only pocket from which money can be obtained is from the rapist himself.

Civil Claims Of Intentional Torts

Rape is a criminal charge. When a rape victim files suit, he or she will actually be making a claim of Intentional Tort: A claim that the alleged rapist intentionally wronged the victim. There are four intentional tort claims which are most commonly made by rape victims:

  • Battery Or Specifically Sexual Battery – Claims that the alleged rapist intentionally caused non-consensual contact with the victim.
  • False Imprisonment – Claims that the victim was held against his or her will by the alleged rapist.
  • Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress – Claims that the alleged rapist engaged in outrageous and extreme conduct, causing the victim either (or both) severe emotional distress or bodily harm.
  • Punitive Damages – A claim for money to punish the offender for what he did.

The victim may file a claim for each and every one of these torts that apply, and may be awarded damages for each one the court finds has merit. The amount of damages depends on a number of factors, including the specifics of the case and the applicable laws regarding damages in the jurisdiction where the suit is filed. The victim may also be able to sue a hotel or other business for failing to provide a safe environment if the sexual assault occurs there.

Get Help Making Your Claim

If you are the victim of rape and you would like to file a suit for monetary damages against your attacker, Madison attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices are here to help you. Call us today at 608-256-8356 for a free consultation on the specifics of your case.