If you've been sexually assaulted, you're probably traumatized and emotionally spent. It's one of the most terrible things that can happen to a person, and it's no surprise that you're suffering. The law recognizes the horror of sexual assault, and provides not only for criminal penalties for the perpetrator, but also civil penalties in the form of money damages paid to you, the victim. A civil trial doesn't happen automatically, like a criminal investigation. It is your courageous choice to bring a lawsuit against your attacker, and one of our New Hampshire personal injury lawyers will stand by your side and fight for justice for you.
In every civil case, a process called discovery must take place. Discovery means that each party is required to give the other party certain documents, records, and answers to questions. Some of this is mandatory and automatic, meaning that you must provide certain materials to the other party whether he/she asks for them or not. You'll need a skilled lawyer to help you identify, gather, and then transmit these materials to the other party. Another part of discovery is an optional opportunity to ask for additional materials or answers to questions. Knowing what materials to ask for, and what questions to ask, is a skill that is tremendously important to your case—missing out on some materials or answers could mean going without crucial evidence.
During the discovery process, you could feel re-victimized by the questions asked, particularly if you are required to sit for a deposition, or formal interview that can be quoted against you at trial. You need a competent lawyer at your side who can object to questions that are asked for improper reasons, like to intimidate you or re-victimize you, or to questions that are legally improper.
It is critically important that you call a lawyer as soon as possible after the assault. A lot of crucial evidence is extremely time-sensitive and will be lost if it can't be collected and analyzed immediately. A skilled New Hampshire personal injury lawyer can be by your side immediately, helping you know how to cope and what to do to make the strongest case against your attacker.
Court trials are often portrayed in movies as constantly dramatic, full of tense moments and suspense, but the reality is somewhat different. You need a lawyer who thoroughly understands the law, and will painstaking gather, preserve, and present evidence that meets every single required point in order for the jury or judge to decide the case in your favor. For instance, evidence is needed to determine what the attacker's frame of mind was, his or her motive or intent, the reasons why your testimony is more credible than the attacker's, and the actual proof of the pain and trauma that you've suffered—all must be carefully accounted for when presenting your case.
You also need a lawyer who is familiar with the criminal system, as there will almost certainly be a criminal investigation and possibly trial related to the attack. This can be extremely important to your case—defendants in criminal trials have certain rights that parties to civil cases do not, like the right to not answer questions that might be self-incriminating. A skilled New Hampshire personal injury lawyer can take these circumstances into account and plan your strategy so as to overcome potential obstacles.
A good lawyer will also make sure that you are aware of all of your options, including agreeing to a settlement instead of taking the case to trial. A settlement is an agreement that the attacker will pay you an agreed amount of money and in return you will dismiss your case. This might appeal to you if you simply want to be compensated for your suffering and would rather avoid having to deal with the emotional onslaught of a trial. On the other hand, you may want to go to trial, with the associated risk, in order to feel that justice has been fulfilled. Your personal injury lawyer will help you make that decision.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, you don't have to face this ordeal alone, and you can be compensated for your suffering. Call Liberty Legal Services for a consultation today with one of our personal injury attorneys.
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This site does not constitute legal advice. An attorney client relationship is formed only after an agreement is entered into between an Attorney of Liberty Legal and a client is reached. Past results do not guarantee future results.
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Liberty Legal Services PLLC. Main office: 250 Commercial St #3020 Manchester NH 03101. (603) 262-3196