Sexual Assault Attorneys

Sexual assault and battery cases are often dealt with through the criminal law system.  In the criminal system, a district attorney files criminal charges against the offender.  If the offender is found guilty, the court may impose jail, fines, and/or restitution for monetary losses such as medical bills. 

In some cases, the criminal law system may not adequately address the full extent of medical bills, lost wages, permanent physical harm, and emotional harm caused by the offender.  In these cases, the civil law system can help hold the individual accountable for their actions and force them to make up for the harm they caused.

Under Oregon law, “assault” and “battery” are two different types of personal injury claims.  Sexual assault and abuse claims are often pursued using a “battery” claim.

An assault occurs when an individual acts intending to cause harmful or offensive contact to someone, or intentionally causes that person to be in apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.  To prove an assault, the victim must also reasonably believe that a harmful of offensive contact will occur.  Physical contact is not necessary to prove this claim.    

An example of an assault would be someone pointing a gun at you and then stating they are going to shoot you.  If you reasonably believed you were going to be shot, a personal injury claim of assault has occurred. The act constituting an assault could also be a threat to punch someone or someone driving a car intentionally towards another.  The standard is whether or not the act put you in apprehension of imminent harmful contact.

The Oregon personal injury claim of battery, on the other hand, does require physical contact.  A battery occurs when an individual acts intending to cause harmful or offensive contact with another and directly or indirectly does cause harmful or offensive contact.  Examples of a battery include sexual assault, sexual abuse, intentionally punching someone, or intentionally hitting someone with a car.

The most difficult issue in these types of personal injury claims is the fact that most defendants lack the ability to take monetary responsibility for the harm they have caused.  In other words, they lack the money to afford large medical bills, lost wages, physical pain, etc.  In some cases this may not be an issue.  Sometimes insurance is involved and/or the defendant does have the ability to pay.  It is important to have an Oregon personal injury attorney investigate all aspects of the case, including the defendant’s ability to pay, to determine the best path forward.  

Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or would like to consult us on a possible personal injury case.  

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