There is no question that sexual assault can be devastating for the victim. Rape can lead to physical injuries, medical bills, lost work, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), problems with intimacy, and other short and long-term effects.
A sexual assault can occur in many different situations and at various locations. It can occur on a college campus, it can take place in a public restroom at a park, in a dark parking lot, behind a business late at night, at someone’s house, at a concert or nightclub – a sexual assault can happen just about anywhere.
Do Victims Have Legal Recourse?
Most sexual assault victims know they can go to the police and if they’re lucky, the perpetrator can be identified, caught and prosecuted. But where does that leave the victim?
What a lot of victims don’t know is that they may be able to file a personal injury claim for the sexual assault, even if the perpetrator is never caught, and even if he is behind bars and facing criminal charges. How is this possible?
In many situations, a sexual assault victim can file a personal injury claim against the property owner or lessee where the assault took place. For example, if a young woman was sexually assaulted on a college campus while walking back to her dorm at night, she could file a claim against the school.
Another example is a girl who was raped at a house party. She can file a claim against the homeowner’s property insurance. These are just a few examples, but there are many situations where someone can file a personal injury claim after being sexually assaulted, even if the perpetrator is at large, or if he is behind bars.
In most cases, those who commit sexual assault are either on the run, or they’re behind bars but they do not have the resources to compensate their victims. This is why it makes sense to file a lawsuit against the owners of the properties where the attack took place. Since property owners have a duty to keep visitors safe, they can be liable for the attacks that occur on their premises, but this is usually covered by their insurance policies.
Statute of Limitations to File a Claim
In South Carolina, the deadline or “statute of limitations” to file a personal injury lawsuit is three years under S.C. Code Ann. Section 15-3-530. If a lawsuit is not filed within this three-year window, the plaintiff (injured party) loses the right to file a claim permanently.
To explore your legal options in a sexual assault case, contact our firm today.