How Litigation Works In Sexual Assault Lawsuits

October 28, 2022


Keeping in mind how many sexual assault cases go unreported and how many reported sexual assault cases do not lead to conviction, we understand why it can be overwhelming for sexual assault victims to come forward.

However, our team of expert sexual assault lawyers are working tirelessly to make Edmonton a better place for victims who want to punish their perpetrators.

If you are someone who has been sexually assaulted, we urge you to contact us today. Slaferek Law is proud to boast a high success rate in sexual assault as well as other assault cases, know that we are with you.

Many times, sexual assault cases are resolved through a plea bargain which is an agreement that is signed between the prosecutor and the perpetrator’s representative. The perpetrator agrees to plead guilty on the basis of a reduction in penalty.

The plea bargain is usually the preferred method since it does not require endless court visits. Moreover, the victim also does not have to testify.

However, if you still want to go to trial and settle the matter in a court of law you can file for criminal and civil charges. This also holds if you want monetary compensation for the damages caused.

In this blog, we have listed all the stages of litigation to help you understand what to expect.

The Initial Stage

In the initial stage of the litigation process, you will hire a lawyer who will represent you throughout the case.

Once you have signed an agreement with the lawyer, the lawyer will formulate the documentation that states your demands as well as the allegations against the perpetrator. This document will also list the monetary award you are expecting to settle the matter.

If you or the perpetrator want to preserve public reputation, an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) is also signed during the initial stages. Signing an NDA in the case that the perpetrator wants to preserve his/her public reputation usually results in an increase in the victim’s monetary award. However, many victims do not find this a satisfactory remedy and would prefer for the matter to go before a jury.

Court Proceedings

If things are not settled during a plea bargain and you decide to take things in front of a jury, the next stage is the court proceedings.

This usually happens when the plaintiff and the defendant cannot agree to terms. The plaintiff then files a statement of claim with the court.

In the court proceedings, each party is questioned under oath and if neither of the parties can agree to settle, the lawsuit trial will proceed.

The Discovery Process

This is when the plaintiff and the defendant present the evidence pertinent to the allegations. The harm to the victim and the quantification of the losses are also conducted during this stage.

The court is asked to decide the following during the discovery process:

  • If the alleged sexual abuse occurred
  • The extent to which the abuse harmed the plaintiff
  • Whether those harms resulted in losses to the plaintiff

Should You Settle?

It is true that many sexual assault victims feel shame and guilt concerning the assault. As a result, many end up settling the case before reaching the jury.

However, the main question is, should you settle?

There is no right and wrong answer to this question. If you feel like going in front of the jury will force you to relive the trauma and you do not want that, then settling is completely fine. Moreover, it is important to note that a trial comes with major costs.

Hence, before deciding something, have a session with your lawyer and weigh the pros and cons so that you know exactly what you want.

In addition, while deciding between a lawsuit and a plea bargain, make sure you understand what your motivations are for filing the lawsuit.

About Slaferek Law

Thanks to our team’s diversity and expertise in different areas of criminal law, we are able to defend clients charged with all different types of offenses. Our team of professional criminal lawyers draws from their experience to reap the best possible outcome for our clients. Learn more about SLaferek Law and our team.

Need a defence against sexual assault charges? Contact us now.

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Contacting Darin H. Slaferek

We specialize in criminal law, delivering ethical, effective, and efficient legal solutions that prioritize the best interests of our clients.