Massachusetts Sexual Assault and Rape Claims

Harriman Law

Massachusetts Sexual Assault and Rape Claims

At Harriman Law, we understand that fewer injuries are more personal or painful than those caused by sexual violence. Sexual assault and rape are perpetrated upon victims in many contexts, within all types of relationships, and with staggering frequency. Each year in the United States, over 300,000 women and men are victimized by rape and sexual assault. If you are the victim of sexual violence, you are not alone. Whatever happened, and however it happened, please know that it was not your fault and that the law provides you, as a survivor of this harm, with civil options for securing justice. At Harriman Law, we are here to help you understand those options.

Victims of sexual violence in Massachusetts have rights under both the criminal and civil justice systems. The criminal justice system exists to prosecute perpetrators for the sexual crimes they have committed. Unfortunately, although it pursues justice on behalf of victims, the District Attorney’s Office does not actually represent victims in criminal proceedings – it prosecutes crimes in the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a matter of public safety and policy. The DA’s Office cannot secure monetary damages for the personal harm, losses, and pain and suffering you or a loved one incurred as a victim of sexual assault or rape.

Only the civil justice system exists to financially compensate victims for the personal harms and losses caused by sexual assault and rape. As a survivor of sexual assault or rape in Massachusetts, you have civil remedies for the intentional acts of the perpetrator. Depending upon the circumstances in which the crime was committed, you may also have claims against the facility or commercial establishment where the sexual assault or rape occurred, against the entity who employed the perpetrator, or against those individuals responsible for the supervision of the perpetrator. Each case is unique, and the viability of these civil claims is a fact-intensive inquiry. The best way to explore your options is through a free consultation [click to Contact page] with our office. If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted or raped in Massachusetts and would like assistance understanding your available civil remedies for securing compensation, call or email us today for a free consultation.

Civil Claims Against Your Perpetrator

No matter the context in which rape or sexual assault occurs in Massachusetts, victims always have intentional tort claims against the perpetrator. These claims are filed directly against the perpetrator and seek monetary compensation for the damages he or she caused by sexually assaulting or raping you. The fallout from a sexual assault or rape can be life shattering, and victims often incur substantial medical bills, lost wages, and ongoing pain and suffering and emotional distress.

In the event of a successful civil action against your perpetrator, you as the victim are entitled to compensation from the perpetrator for all of the harm and damage that flows from the sexual assault or rape including, without limitation:

  • Your pain and suffering caused by the sexual assault or rape
  • The costs associated with your past, present, and future medical care causally related to the sexual assault or rape (including mental health)
  • The impairment to your earning capacity caused by the sexual assault or rape
Civil Claims Against Third Parties

Often, sexual assault and rape occur in a context that gives rise to civil negligence claims against third parties and corporate entities for their acts of negligence which caused or contributed to your harm. These claims most often arise when a sexual assault or rape occurs on commercial property (parking garages, nightclubs, etc.) in custodial environments (group homes, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.), or when receiving services from a corporate entity whose employee perpetrates a sexual assault or rape (car services, etc.).

Unfortunately, in Massachusetts, the mere occurrence of a sexual assault or rape in a commercial context is insufficient, without more, to hold a third party liable for the harm caused by the criminal acts of the perpetrator. In order to hold a third party liable for the harm caused by the perpetrator, there must be a proven failure to exercise reasonable care which caused or contributed to the sexual assault or rape.

In the context of a rape or sexual assault occurring on commercial property, prior incidents of sexual assault and rape on the property may create sufficient notice such that the owner of the property should have done more to prevent the sexual assault or rape you experienced. Moreover, the perpetrator’s presence and actions in the moments leading up to your sexual assault or rape may have been sufficiently concerning such that the owner of the property should have acted sooner and responded before you were sexually assaulted or raped.

In other instances, the perpetrator may have been employed by, or acting on behalf of, the owner of the commercial property where your sexual assault or rape occurred. In that context, the owner or employer may be held liable for the harm you incurred if you can demonstrate that the owner or employer was negligent in the hiring, retention, or supervision of the perpetrator.

Whether you have a viable claim of negligent hiring, negligent retention, or negligent supervision depends on, among other things, the perpetrator’s record upon hire, his or her behavior and performance throughout the employment relationship, and the level at which he or she was being supervised (or not) at the moment you were sexually assaulted or raped.

Sexual Assault and Rape in the Workplace or Perpetrated by Coworkers and Supervisors

It is not at all uncommon for sexual assault and rape to occur in a context that connects, both directly and indirectly, to your employment. Victims are often sexually assaulted by coworkers and supervisors and, for those who work with the public, may even be sexually assaulted or raped by customers or members of the public while on the job. When this happens, the viability and availability of your civil claims is largely dependent upon the identity of the perpetrator. Sexual assault and rape perpetrated by coworkers and supervisors in Massachusetts may create rights under M.G.L. c. 151B, the state’s sexual harassment statute, in addition to intentional tort claims against the perpetrator. If you are injured by a sexual assault or rape while at work and engaged in work on behalf of your employer, injuries sustained as a result of sexual assault or rape may be compensable under the Massachusetts Worker’s Compensation system.

Civil claims against third parties for the harm caused by a sexual assault or rape are incredibly fact-intensive and require an in-depth exploration with legal counsel to assess their viability. The best way to explore your options is through a free consultation with our office.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of sexual assault or rape in Massachusetts, call or email us today to schedule a free consultation.
What You Can Expect From Us

If we are able to take your case, you will not pay us anything unless we can successfully resolve it on your behalf. From start to finish, you will not pay a penny out of your pocket in legal fees and expenses and, even when your case concludes, you will not be responsible for legal fees and expenses unless we successfully resolve your claim.