Victims of sexual abuse often face a lifetime of resulting physical and emotional injuries. If you are suffering from a sexual assault, you are probably wondering about the next step to take. Perhaps you experienced a sexual assault many years ago, and you are now ready to file a claim against your assailant. Whatever your intentions, the compassionate and skilled sexual assault personal injury lawyers at Preszler Law Firm in Ontario will effectively advocate for your interests.
Our sexual abuse lawyers can meet with you in Brampton for a free initial consultation. Call 1-877-573-3563
What Behavior Constitutes Sexual Assault or Abuse in Canada?
In civil court, a sexual assault involves physical contact of a sexual nature to which one party does not consent. Verbal threats, gestures without words, force, or the threat of someone using the force of a sexual nature may constitute sexual abuse.
Additionally, if a health professional or doctor sexually abuses or assaults you, you may be entitled to compensation through a civil lawsuit. In some cases, you might make a legitimate legal claim against the doctor and the hospital or clinic that employed the doctor when the assault happened.
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I Am a Victim of Sexual Abuse, What Legal Steps Can I Take?
If you have suffered from sexual abuse, first, make sure that you are in a safe area and location. There is not a statute of limitations in Ontario for bringing forth civil lawsuits. However, it is wise to contact the police by calling them or visiting a police station in person prior to doing so.
An experienced sexual abuse personal injury lawyers will be able to tell you which people may be legally responsible for the assault, other than the perpetrator. For example, if the sexual abuse happened in a place of employment, the employer of the perpetrator may be legally responsible for the abuse along with the sexual abuser. If the sexual abuse occurred in a business’ parking garage, the company might also be liable under a premises liability theory. If the employer or business owner knew or should have known that the parking lot was dimly lit and unsafe, yet failed to prevent dangerous conditions, they might face liability.
There Is No Statute of Limitations for Ontario Sexual Abuse Personal Injury Lawsuits
On March 9, 2016, Ontario lawmakers amended the Limitations Act to remove the statute of limitations claims for sexual assault based on civil personal injury lawsuits. Before the change, Ontario courts would bar the civil claim if the sexual abuse victim did not file the claim within two years of the assault occurring. This legislative claim allows sexual assault victims to sue their perpetrators in civil court for damages regardless of how much time has passed since the sexual assault. This policy change reflects the well-accepted thought that it often takes sexual abuse survivors many years to come forward with their claims.
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The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board of Ontario Provides Some Victims with Compensation
Victims of sexual abuse or assault may be able to apply for compensation provided by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CIBC) of Ontario. Only victims injured in a violent crime that took place in Ontario may apply for payment. Sexual assaults are considered violent crimes to receive compensation.
The board may award the following amounts of compensation after a written, oral, or electronic hearing, as they see fit:
- A periodic monthly award of between $1,000 to $365,000
- A lump-sum monetary award of up to $25,000
- An interim award for the victim’s expenses before a hearing takes place and the board determines the final compensation amount if they decide to award one
The CIBC may award compensation for the following expenses:
- Therapy and counseling expenses
- Medical and dental expenses
- Loss of income or monetary support due to the assault
- Pain and suffering resulting from the sexual assault
- Financial support for a child born as a result of the sexual assault
- Burial expenses when a family member dies as a result of a sexual assault
While it is not necessary to hire a lawyer to submit an application and represent the victim during the oral, written, or electronic hearing. Nonetheless, working with one of the experienced, empathetic sexual assault lawyers at Preszler Law Firm can help you through the process immensely. We will gather and present the facts of your case persuasively, helping you advocate for the highest monetary award possible.
What Compensation Is Available to Sexual Assault Victims in a Personal Injury Claim?
If you decide to pursue a civil personal injury lawsuit against your assailant, you may be entitled to several different types of monetary compensation.
You may be entitled to compensation for your loss of past and future income due to injuries suffered from the assault. Additionally, you may be entitled to compensation for all medical costs, to include the following:
- Physical therapy costs
- Mental health care costs
- Home health care costs
- Transportation costs to and from medical appointments
Pain and Suffering Damages
Courts often award damages to compensation of sexual assault victims for the pain and suffering they endured and continue to suffer. In Canada, civil damage awards for pain and suffering are generally capped at $365,000. This amount increases each year with inflation.
Sexual abuse victims may be entitled to punitive damages when the assailant’s actions were notably egregious. The goal of punitive damages is to harshly punish the assailant and deter other people from engaging in morally bankrupt behaviors. Though punitive damage awards are rare in Canada, they are awarded in some egregious cases.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers Effectively Advocate for Sexual Abuse Survivors
Our lawyers are empathetic to the sensitive and traumatizing nature of sexual assault cases. We work to partner with our clients to help them feel as comfortable as possible despite the challenging nature of their claim. If you or your family member live with injuries as a result of a sexual assault, our Toronto lawyers will help you understand your legal options for compensation. Contact us to set up your initial consultation at one of our Ontario offices today.