Are you a victim of sexual misconduct who is considering filing a lawsuit?
The litigation of any matter can be mentally and emotionally trying for you and your family.
But because of the unique nature of sexual misconduct cases, this may be an even bigger concern you have.
Read on to learn 7 things you should know when suing for sexual misconduct.
One of the most important aspects of a sexual misconduct lawsuit, at least outside of court, is being sure you are mentally prepared for litigation.
Depending on the extent of the situation, filing a lawsuit will subject you to reliving the situation all over again.
While you should not let that prevent you from seeking justice, you should keep this in mind in order to be better prepared.
Depending on how far litigation goes, there’s a good chance that as a plaintiff, you will sit for a deposition in the matter.
During a deposition, the defendant’s counsel will have fairly wide latitude to ask you questions on many different topics.
This is part of the discovery process and is meant to help both sides learn more about the facts of the case.
There is always the possibility that a case proceeds to a trial. These can range from a day to upwards of weeks and months, depending on the cause of action and evidence.
You should be confident in moving forward with a well-founded lawsuit but mentally prepared too.
Are there other witnesses that can help support your allegations against the opposing party?
If you have other credible people who witnessed these actions first hand, this can help strengthen your case.
When you file a lawsuit, you are formally pursuing a cause of action in a court of law. These are filed with a good faith belief that they are supported by the evidence that will be presented in the matter.
But filing a lawsuit is just the first step in civil litigation.
As a plaintiff, you and your attorney will have the burden of proving each cause of action by a preponderance of the evidence. This is often referred to as a burden that shows that a cause of action is “more likely than not” to have taken place.
Part of the way you will prove this is by presenting the different pieces of evidence. This can come from testimony under oath, written statements, documents and other exhibits.
It’s important to consider whether or not you have any witnesses to the instance(s) you have alleged in your lawsuit.
Have you documented the issues that you will allege in this lawsuit?
Sometimes, issues that a party is suing for in court took place many months (or even years) before. Sexual misconduct is a serious allegation. But the more details you are able to recall about the case may help your cause of action.
If these situations took place at work over a period of time, was there someone in your employer’s HR Department who you made aware of the situation? If so, there may be written records of your complaints.
This may be able to be used to show that your employer was aware of the situation over a certain time period. Perhaps you even wrote down the instances with important information like the date, parties involved and underlying facts.
It is important to discuss any documents that may exist with your attorney as part of your preparation before filing a lawsuit.
Depending on the allegations you are making in connection with your sexual misconduct lawsuit, you may open yourself up to a deep look into your medical history.
This is because lawyers for the opposing party may subpoena your medical records in order to learn more about injuries you are alleging, whether they are physical or mental.
For example, if you claim to be suffering from emotional distress, relevant records from your past may be subpoenaed. This can be invasive and uncomfortable, so it is important to think about this as part of your lawsuit.
Previous Employment Issues
Have you had issues at previous employers about similar instances in the past? What was the result of those situations?
Opposing counsel will be interested to know if you have ever sued anyone for sexual misconduct before. If you have, they will want to know more about that situation and what, if anything, came of it.
If there was litigation related to that case or cases, did you give sworn testimony under oath? If so, what did you say?
Opposing counsel will want to review the transcripts of any deposition, trial testimony or court proceeding that you have testified in as well.
Was there a criminal case in connection with the current civil matter? If so, who were the witnesses and what testimony came out?
What are your litigation goals as part of filing this lawsuit?
It’s important to be realistic about your goals given the law, your allegations and the facts of your case.
In order to prevail on a cause of action, you must prove each element. This means presenting relevant, reliable and admissible evidence.
The facts of every case are different. This means that some matters are harder to prove than others.
By discussing your case with a licensed attorney in New York, you should have realistic expectations about a potential outcome.
If sexual misconduct took place at work, are you still employed there?
Sometimes, instances of sexual harassment happen in an office setting and you decide to file a lawsuit as a current employee.
It’s quite possible that once you file your lawsuit, this may become known by other employees or even outside of the office.
If you are not able to quit or find another job at the time, you must be prepared for the stress or anxiety you might feel being there over the course of your litigation.
Sexual Misconduct Litigation
Filing any lawsuit is an important decision to make for you and your family.
But a sexual misconduct lawsuit can take a physical and emotional toll on you.
It is best to discuss the many different aspects of this litigation with your attorney so that you are best prepared for it.
At The Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein, PC, our legal team offers representation in serious medical malpractice litigation and personal injury cases.
We have over 60 years of combined experience representing plaintiffs!
Contact us today to learn more about how our firm can help you pursue justice in your case!