Sexual Assault Lawyers in Pittsburgh
Sexual Assault Lawyers in Pittsburgh
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Sexual Assault Lawyers in Pittsburgh
The number of sexual assaults is on the rise in the United States. According to statistics published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the number of victims of this violent crime increased by more than 90,000 between 2013 and 2017. Many of the victims of sexual assault endured the violence of their crimes on a property outside of their own. Not only is sexual assault considered a heinous violent crime, but it also can be an act that invokes premises liability statutes. Premises liability represents a type of personal injury case that holds a property owner responsible for the injuries and financial losses sustained by a victim.
Sexual assault victims experience much more than physical pain. They also have to deal with negative emotions such as fear, guilt, and anxiety. The lingering negative emotions create roadblocks to both personal and professional development, as well as discourage victims from taking the type of legal action required to move forward in life. If you are a victim of sexual assault, you should take immediate steps to get the legal support you deserve by contacting one of the sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh who handles negligent security cases.
Negligent security is one type of premises liability law that also includes slip and fall incidents. Both public and private property owners owe a duty of care to protect visitors from harm. The types of negligent security include improperly trained personnel and failing to provide victims with enough lighting in a parking lot. From attending a home game for the Pittsburgh Penguins to shopping in one of the suburbs surrounding the Steel City, you should feel safe at all times. Unfortunately, far too many property owners do not take the steps required to ensure the safety of visitors.
At Morgan and Morgan, our team of sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh handles every type of negligent security case. Our litigators conduct an extensive investigation that discovers the cause of a sexual assault that includes gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses. Since 1988, Morgan and Morgan has recovered more than $14 billion in monetary damages for clients that filed a personal injury lawsuit, with a substantial percentage of the compensation coming from premises liability cases such as the ones that involve negligent security.
Find out how you can receive compensation as a victim of a sexual assault by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh from Morgan and Morgan.
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What Is Sexual Assault?
Considered one of the worst types of violent crimes for law enforcement personnel to investigate and prosecute, sexual assault involves a non-consensual sexual encounter that is defined by the statutes written at both the state and federal judicial levels. A victim of sexual assault loses control from a perpetrator who commits an act that is not one of passion, but instead, an act of violence either intended for a specific victim or the gender of the victim. Sexual assault victims often feel guilt for allowing the violent crime to take place, but they should not feel that falling victim to the violent crime is their fault. Victims require a significant amount of time to heal physical injuries and even more time to close the wounds caused by emotional distress issues.
Although the focus for victims of a sexual assault typically concerns the filing of criminal charges, many sexual assault cases also require the victim to pursue civil action in the form of filing a negligent security lawsuit against a property owner. One of the sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh from Morgan and Morgan can help you file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages to recover the costs associated with both physical and emotional pain.
How Does PTSD Impact a Sexual Assault Case?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is frequently associated with members of the military that lived through one traumatic event or endured a series of traumatic events over the course of several years. However, PTSD also negatively impacts the quality of life experienced by the victims of a violent crime like sexual assault. A study published in Trauma, Violence & Abuse demonstrated more than 80 percent of all victims of sexual assault reported developing PTSD symptoms around one week after falling victim to the violent crime.
The destructive symptoms of PTSD include physical trauma-related symptoms such as insomnia, chronic fatigue, migraine headaches, and injuries sustained at different areas of the body. Recurring nightmares contribute to the development of emotional distress issues like fear and anxiety, which can last for the rest of a victim’s life. The development of acute fear and anxiety can become severe enough to cause a victim to refuse to leave the comfort of home for any reason. Guilt destroys a victim’s ability to make sound decisions because of a dramatic loss of confidence.
If you endured a sexual assault, one of the sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh from Morgan and Morgan will ask you to undergo an examination to discover whether you suffer from the debilitating symptoms of PTSD.
How Does My Attorney Prove Negligence for Sexual Assault?
Your personal injury attorney must prove the existence of the four elements of negligence: Duty of care, violating a duty of care, causation, and financial losses.
Duty of Care
At the heart of a premises liability case such as negligent security is the legal doctrine called duty of care. Sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh must establish that a property owner assumed a duty of care to protect visitors from getting hurt while visiting a property. For a sexual assault case, public property owners and operators assume a duty of care to take the steps required to ensure the safety of visitors. For example, the owners and managers of Heinz Field and the Carnegie Museum of Art both assume legal liability to prevent visitors from falling victim to sexual assault.
Violating the Duty of Care Doctrine
The second element of proving negligence is the element that defines an act of negligence. For example, the property operator of Heinz Field must take steps to protect visitors from falling victim to a violent crime like sexual assault. Violating the duty of care doctrine at a facility like Heinz Field can include failing to properly screen employees or not providing enough security personnel to work each of the many gates located at the facility. The sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh from Morgan and Morgan review crime scene photographs, as well as security camera footage, to determine whether the owner of a property breached the duty of care doctrine.
To win a favorable legal judgment that awards monetary damages, your attorney must demonstrate you sustained one or more physical injuries, as well as have developed emotional distress symptoms. The results of diagnostic tests take care of the physical injury requirement, while the testimony of a licensed psychologist can show that you suffer from emotional distress issues such as intense anger and deep depression. Defense attorneys often try to disprove the third element of negligence by claiming that another event caused both physical and emotional pain.
Falling victim to sexual assault must have caused financial losses. For sexual assault victims, financial losses include the costs associated with medical care and the amount of money lost because a victim could no longer work. Our team of sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh presents physical evidence such as bank statements and timekeeping records to demonstrate the presence of the fourth element of proving negligence. Financial losses also can include non-economic damages, which your attorney calculates by using a formula that factors in the value of economic damages.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Negligent Security Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?
Sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh provide clients with several legal services that include ensuring the filing of a personal injury lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations. Each state has set a deadline for filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. Most states give plaintiffs between two and four years to take legal action, but a few states allow plaintiffs more time to file a personal injury lawsuit such as one that involves negligent security. Pennsylvania law has established a statute of limitations spanning two years. The clock starts ticking on a sexual assault lawsuit on the day when the victim experienced the traumatic event.
Two years is plenty of time to collect the evidence and interview the witnesses required to file a persuasive personal injury lawsuit. However, you should act with a sense of urgency by filing your civil lawsuit as quickly as possible after a sexual assault. Sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh want to interview witnesses as soon as possible after the crime to receive the most accurate version of events. Witness accounts typically diminish in reliability the longer they are given after a sexual assault. You also should want to take swift legal action to recover the financial losses associated with medical expenses.
If you do not file a sexual assault lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations, the court clerk processing your case will remove it from the judicial docket.
What Defines the Best Sexual Assault Lawyers in Pittsburgh?
You should consider several factors before choosing one of the best sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh.
Proven Record of Success in Handling Sexual Assault Cases
The attorney that you hire must have compiled an impressive record of winning favorable legal judgments for clients. Sexual assault cases represent one of the most difficult types of negligent security cases to litigate. At Morgan and Morgan, our experienced team of sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh works closely with an in-house investigator to gather and organize the physical evidence required to file a convincing civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.
Works Closely With Prosecutors
Sexual assault cases that involve negligent security can lead to both criminal charges, as well as the filing of a civil lawsuit. This means that two teams of litigators work the same case. Your personal injury attorney must be able to collaborate with prosecutors to ensure the sharing of physical evidence and the statements provided by witnesses. Morgan and Morgan sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh have established strong professional relationships with both prosecutors and members of the law enforcement community.
Perhaps no other type of case requires responsive communication more than one that involves a sexual assault. Because of the emotional roller coaster ride felt by victims, working with an unresponsive attorney can compound the negative emotions of acute fear and anxiety. Your lawyer should return emails, phone calls, and text messages within 24 hours of receiving the communications. At Morgan and Morgan, our sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh respond promptly to the questions asked by clients.
Learn more about how to file a sexual assault lawsuit by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the sexual assault lawyers in Pittsburgh from Morgan and Morgan.