Sexual abuse and assault victims in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada can seek compensation for the harm and losses they’ve suffered by filing a lawsuit against their abuser. They may also have a claim of negligence against any institution that enabled or did not prevent the assault from occurring. Victims may fight for monetary damages to pay for their losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one is a sexual abuse or assault victim, a Las Vegas sexual abuse attorney at Greenberg Gross LLP can help with your legal case. Unless we have your consent, we will never disclose the information we obtain during private conversations with you, and we will fight for your right to confidentiality throughout the legal process.
Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Laws in Nevada
Nevada has several laws prohibiting sexual abuse. The crimes a defendant may be charged with depend on the nature of the alleged abuse and the victim’s age.
- Statutory sexual seduction or statutory rape (NRS §200.368) – Sexual penetration between an adult age 18 or older and a child age 14 or 15 and at least four years younger than the adult
- Sexual assault or rape (NRS §200.366) – Non-consensual sexual penetration, regardless of the victim’s age
- Lewdness with a minor under sixteen (NRS §201.230) – Any touching of a child under age 16 that is not technically rape but is done with sexual intent
- Child pornography (NRS §200.710) – Using a child under age 18 to make pornographic materials
- Sexual abuse and exploitation (NRS §432B.100-110) – Other situations of child sexual abuse not covered in other child sex crimes
Filing a Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse or Assault
Most victims seeking restitution for their losses sue the offender(s) who sexually assaulted them. Sexual abuse survivors can file a lawsuit for damages for various civil wrongdoings or intentional torts, including the following:
- Battery or any form of illegal physical touching
- False imprisonment or physical confinement of another person within set boundaries, such as in a bedroom
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress or extreme or outrageous conduct that causes another person to suffer emotional anguish
Other Parties and Negligence
Additionally, victims may sue another party whose misconduct or negligence may have allowed the assault to occur. According to the Legal Information Institute, negligence is defined as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”
Claimants must demonstrate the following facts are true to prove negligence:
- The defendant breached or violated a duty of care owed to the claimant.
- The breach was the actual or proximate cause of the claimant’s injuries.
- The claimant suffered losses as a result of their injuries.
When suing for negligence, the claimant isn’t required to show that the defendant deliberately placed them in danger. Instead, they must demonstrate that the defendant failed to act how a reasonable person would under the circumstances, thereby opening a door of opportunity for harm to occur.
How Long You Have to Sue in a Las Vegas Sexual Assault Case
When a child under age 18 is sexually assaulted, they have 20 years to sue after discovering that sexual abuse caused their injuries or reaching 18 years of age, whichever occurs later, per NRS §11.215.
Adult victims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations to sue for battery, false imprisonment, emotional distress, or negligence, per NRS §11.190(4)(e). This means a claimant generally has two years from the date they were harmed to file a personal injury lawsuit against their abuser, although some exceptions may apply.
Therefore, we encourage adult victims seeking restitution to start working with a Las Vegas sexual abuse attorney as soon as possible to ensure they can file their lawsuit before the deadline.
Recoverable Damages in Las Vegas Sexual Abuse Cases
Sexual assault victims can file a lawsuit against the offender for various damages to cover their expenses and losses, including:
- Medical bills, including lab tests and physical exams
- Mental health expenses, such as therapy and counseling
- Past and future loss of wages due to missed work
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Punitive damages intended to punish the defendant and discourage them from future wrongdoings
Who Has the Burden of Proof in Sexual Abuse Civil and Criminal Cases?
In personal injury lawsuits, claimants must prove their cases by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that they and their attorneys must convince a judge or jury it is probable that the defendant’s actions caused their injuries and losses. Evidence commonly used in a civil lawsuit includes video surveillance footage, text or phone records, eyewitness statements, rape kit results, and expert medical testimony.
Note that the burden of proof differs in criminal cases. For example, if a prosecutor charges an individual with sexual assault, they must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is a much higher evidentiary standard than “by a preponderance of the evidence.” Therefore, it is easier to prove an alleged sex offender is liable for damages in civil court than guilty in criminal court.
Filing Sexual Abuse or Assault Charges in Las Vegas
In addition to a civil lawsuit, if you or a loved one is a sexual abuse or assault victim, you can file a police report to pursue criminal charges against the offender.
If you do so, we advise you to retain a Las Vegas sexual abuse lawyer who can help you compose a victim statement and explain the exact nature and details of the assault(s). This information can also help the prosecutor determine what offense(s) the perpetrator should be charged with.
Start Working With a Las Vegas Sexual Abuse Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse or assault, we urge you to contact us at Greenberg Gross for a free consultation to discuss your legal options. A Las Vegas sexual abuse attorney from our team will work tirelessly to secure a financial settlement in your case to help you on your path to healing from your many losses and ensure justice is served.