Medical Sex Abuse

Breaking the Silence

Your Legal Rights

You have rights under both criminal and civil law. Regardless of whether you have reported the abuse to the police, you have the right to bring your abuser before the court. It is not just your individual abuser who needs to be investigated. The medical entity that the abuser was working for, to whom you entrusted your care, should also be investigated. The question of civil liability of the medical institution arises whenever a predator emerges, as the institution was entrusted with ensuring that no harm was done to you during your medical care.

Your individual abuser could be liable to you under theories of battery, assault, or under some state statutes which provide specific remedies for sexual abuse. The institution where you received your medical care can be held liable under a number of theories. Most often, we find that the institution had prior complaints of sex abuse from earlier patients. This is so because doctors and other medical professionals are often given much more credibility than a patient who complains of abuse. Medical professionals deny the incident or come up with other apparently innocent behavior to try to explain the incident. Time after time, we have held institutions accountable for failing – or refusing – to connect the dots, that is, failing to realize that when there is more than one complaint of abuse against a doctor, or even just one complaint of abuse, the medical professional’s credibility should not be given greater weight than the patient’s.

There are time limits on how long you have to pursue a claim against your abuser or against the institution where he worked. These time limits vary state by state. It is important for you to contact a lawyer early on, so you may understand your time limitations. It should also be noted that some states have extremely long time limitation periods when the abuse involves a minor.