NOTE: Our law firm does not handle Sexual Assault cases. This article is for informational purposes only. Information found in the article does not constitute as formal legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.
Have you been sexually assaulted in Baltimore, MD? Contact WGK Personal Injury Lawyers for immediate legal assistance. You may be entitled to compensation, and our Baltimore sexual assault lawyers are ready to help you fight to maximize your financial recovery. Contact our law office to schedule a free consultation, give us a call at (410) 837-2144 to learn more today.
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Why You Need a Baltimore Sexual Assault Lawyer
After a sexual assault or rape, you may be left frightened, overwhelmed, and unsure of where to turn as you recover. The state will handle a criminal prosecution after the crime is reported. However, criminal proceedings won’t help to restore your sense of security, health, and wellbeing.
An experienced Baltimore assault injury lawyer can help you build a separate case against the perpetrator to hold them accountable for their actions, even if the criminal justice system fails you. If successful, your case can help you recover financial compensation to pay for the medical treatment and counseling you deserve.
While the criminal court focuses on the perpetrator, your sexual assault injury lawyer focuses on your recovery. At WGK Personal Injury Lawyers, our goal is recovering compensation to aid in your recovery. We will work to identify liable parties, guide you through the legal process, and fight for your fair compensation.
Our Baltimore sexual assault injury lawyers will work tirelessly to seek compensation for the traumatic assault you have suffered. While compensation can’t erase what has happened to you, it can ensure you get the medical treatment you need.
WGK Personal Injury Lawyers is a family law firm that has fought for the rights of sexual assault victims in Baltimore for more than three generations. We regularly secure high-value settlements and awards for our clients. Your first consultation is always free; we will review your case and help you take the next steps toward justice.
What Is Sexual Assault in Baltimore?
Maryland law makes a distinction between rape and “sexual offenses” which are called sexual assault in some states. Maryland Criminal Law Code Subtitle 3 classifies sexual assault as a sexual offense and engaging in a sexual act with another person through force, threat of force, or without the consent of the other person.
Maryland law breaks down sexual assault by charges of the first degree, second degree, third degree, and fourth degree.
- Section 3-305 defines a sexual offense in the first degree when strangulation, suffocation, a dangerous weapon, or a threat are used. There are aggravating circumstances that can upgrade the charge.
- Section 3-306 defines second degree sexual assault as a sexual offense involving force, threat of force, or lack of consent. A second degree sexual offense also includes victims under 14 when the person performing the sexual assault is at least 4 years older.
- Section 3-307 defines third degree sexual assault as sexual contact made without the consent of the other person and when a dangerous weapon or serious physical injury (or the threat) are used. It also refers to sexual assault when mental incapacitation is present.
- Section 3-308 defines fourth degree sexual assault when the person committing the act is at least 21 and in a position of authority over a minor.
There are also two degrees of rape. Rape in the first degree is engaging in sexual intercourse without consense through force, a weapon, strangulation, serious physical injury, or the threat of death or serious injury.
Rape in the second degree is engaging in vaginal intercourse without consense by force or threat, with a physically or mentally incapacitated person when the defendant is aware of the condition, or when the victim is under 14 and the defendant is at least 4 years older.
Criminal vs Civil Sexual Assault Proceedings in Baltimore
Sexual assault and rape are crimes in Maryland which means perpetrators may face criminal charges. As a victim of sexual assault, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit even if the perpetrator is not charged or convicted.
In Maryland, sexual assault can trigger two completely separate proceedings in criminal court and civil court. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the sexual assault. If the defendant pleads guilty or is convicted in court, they can be sentenced to imprisonment, fines, probation, and mandatory sex offender registration.
The focus of a criminal case is punishing the perpetrator. It will not address compensation for the victim.
While nothing will erase the trauma you have experienced, financial compensation can help you cover your expenses and find justice. The civil court system in Maryland is designed to compensate victims of negligence and assault.
Civil claims are generally easier to prove than criminal cases because there is a lower burden of proof. If the defendant was convicted for the sexual assault, this can serve as crucial evidence to strengthen your sexual assault. However, it is not necessary for the defendant to be convicted or even charged to win a personal injury case.
Premises Liability and Sexual Assault
The perpetrator of a sexual assault or rape is certainly liable for their action. However, sometimes a third party may also be held legally liable for an assault. In Maryland, premises liability refers to a property owner’s duty to provide a safe place for visitors and customers. This includes a duty to implement reasonable security measures to protect against reasonably foreseeable acts of third party violence.
If a store, restaurant, or other public place fails to keep guests safe, they may be held liable when a sexual assault occurs.
Maryland property owners must take reasonable steps to prevent crime and avoid creating an environment that invites criminal activity. Depending on the business, environment, and area crime rate, this may include:
- Security guards
A business owner or property manager may be liable if a sexual assault occurred at their business, apartment complex, or church if a crime occurring was reasonably foreseeable and they failed to mitigate the risk, address known security issues, or provide adequate warning.
At WGK Personal Injury Lawyers, we represent victims of sexual assault in seeking justice and fair compensation. An experienced sexual assault lawyer in Baltimore can help you seek full compensation for the great harm you have suffered. Contact WGK Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.
Common Injuries in Sexual Assault
Sexual assault and abuse are, unfortunately, prevalent in Maryland and throughout the United States. About 19% of adult women in Maryland have experienced some type of attempted or completed rape in their life. 44% of women and 23% of men have experienced other types of sexual violence.
Sexual assault and rape are always traumatic. Sometimes, sexual assault survivors are left with serious physical injuries along with emotional trauma. Common injuries that may result from a sexual assault or rape include:
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Unwanted pregnancy
- Injuries from force
- Injuries from restraints
- Injuries from foreign objects
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
At WGK Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand that a sexual assault can leave you with tangible and intangible injuries that may affect you for the rest of your life. Our Baltimore sexual assault lawyers will aggressively represent you in seeking full compensation for the injuries you have sustained.
Compensation for Sexual Assault Injuries in Baltimore
Victims of sexual assault are often left with wide-reaching effects of their assault that may follow them for years. Many victims need medical care such as physical treatments, counseling, therapy, and medication to heal from their physical and mental injuries. As the victim of sexual assault, the financial burden of your care should be placed on the party or parties responsible for your assault, not you, as you attempt to move forward.
In a personal injury case for sexual assault, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries. These damages are based on your actual economic damages like medical bills and the damages that are harder to quantify like pain and suffering. While monetary compensation can’t erase the trauma and pain you have endured, it can help you avoid the financial burden of your assault.
You may be entitled to compensation for damages such as:
- Medical expenses including emergency care, ongoing treatment, medication, and counseling
- Cost to terminate a pregnancy, when applicable
- Cost of pregnancy, childbirth, and/or adoption, when applicable
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Lost wages
You may also be entitled to punitive damages. This form of compensation is reserved as a punishment for defendants who engage in extremely egregious acts. Sexual assault or rape can qualify. Our team will carefully review the circumstances of your case to determine if an award of punitive damages might be within reach.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Baltimore Sexual Assault Lawyer
Sexual assault or rape can leave you with lifelong injuries, both physical and emotional. You deserve justice as well as compensation for your injuries to heal and move on with your life. At WGK Personal Injury Lawyers, our compassionate legal team is standing by to help you through every step of your legal journey.
Your initial consultation with a Baltimore sexual abuse lawyer at WGK Personal Injury Lawyers is always free and you never pay out-of-pocket attorney fees. We will aggressively fight for your rights as a victim of sexual assault in Maryland to hold the accountable parties responsible.