Nowadays, sexual predators are all over, including in hospitals. When you go to the hospital seeking medical care, you expect quality and professional treatment from the staff and respect from other patients and visitors. However, many people have experienced trauma inside hospital corridors after being sexually abused by one or more people. Hospitals must be safe for all. When a hospital fails in its mandate to provide care and protection to its customers within its facility, it could be liable for the damages incurred if one or more patients suffer harm while visiting the facility.
Our team at Sex Crime Attorney is passionate about ensuring that justice is served for victims of hospital sexual abuse in Los Angeles, CA. Therefore, we could help you file a claim for compensation in a civil court against the liable party if you or your loved one faced sexual abuse in a hospital.
Hospital Sex Abuse is Common in California
When a person visits a hospital because they are unwell or take a loved one to the hospital, they expect respect, professionalism, and proper care from hospital attendants, including nurses, doctors, therapists, and other caregivers. Sadly, placing yourself under the treatment and care of other people leaves you completely vulnerable and at risk of abuse. Sexual abuse in hospitals is not uncommon; cases are increasing by the day in California and other parts of the world. The most affected are patients with physical limitations due to their illness or treatment effects, children, and adolescents. Unfortunately, some hospital staff members are liable for these heinous acts.
California law against taking advantage of a person’s vulnerability to commit a crime is stringent. The law is stricter on those who commit grave offenses like sexual abuse against vulnerable public members. Taking advantage of an unfortunate situation of another person to harm them should be severely punished by law. That is why we have grave consequences for those that commit sexual offenses against vulnerable victims. Additionally, victims can pursue compensation under the civil law against their perpetrators. That compensation will help them deal with the damages incurred after the abuse.
Hospitals in California owe a duty of care to their employees, patients, and visitors. They must have measures in place to protect everyone within their facilities. However, it does not always happen, and some people have been injured or abused in hospitals due to one or more party’s negligence. Sexual abuse is the gravest form of injury in most hospitals today. Some patients are raped or sexually assaulted within hospital corridors. The hospital could be partially accountable for the damages when that happens.
Sexual abuse is prevalent in hospitals and psychiatric facilities. Some cases go unreported, while others do not receive the publicity they deserve. Sex offenders are all over today, targeting the most vulnerable members of society. If you or your loved one faces sexual abuse in a hospital, it helps to know how to pursue compensation for the damages incurred. An experienced sex crime attorney could help you plan and prepare a lawsuit in a civil court for your injuries.
But first, you have to establish liability to determine the party against which to file the lawsuit. It could be the perpetrator alone or together with the hospital (perpetrator’s employer). You should receive compensation for all your damages with the right legal help.
Hospital sexual abuse does not happen in specific areas in the facilities. It can happen anywhere and involve any medical personnel from any hospital department. According to a study, most patients sexually assaulted in hospitals are on sedatives. Others are harmed in the course of a medical procedure. The latter do not know what is happening until the abuse has occurred. Some abuse cases involve children who have no idea what is happening to them until an adult realizes it.
Examples of Hospital Sexual Abuse Incidences
Hospital sexual abuse takes many forms. Some cases are similar, while others are very different. A sex crime attorney will analyze your case to advise you on the right course of action to take. Some examples of hospital sexual abuse incidences that have been reported in the past include:
A case of a Missouri doctor casually asked his female patient about her sexual preference while treating her for a urinary-related problem. The doctor went on to tell the patient that she sexually aroused him. The doctor later surrendered his professional license.
Another case was a nurse assistant who worked in a children’s hospital in Salt Lake City. She entered the room of an 11-year old boy, lifted his gown, and sexually molested the child. Luckily, the boy reported the sexual abuse, and the assistant was immediately suspended and, afterward, terminated from employment.
Possible Perpetrators of Hospital Sexual Abuse
Most perpetrators of hospital sexual abuse in California are the hospital staff. They could include doctors, nurses, therapists, and support staff like transporters and technicians. Their positions in hospitals bring them closer to the patients and other junior employees, who form the majority of sexual abuse victims. Employees in higher positions perpetrate most of these offenses. They target the most vulnerable patients in their facilities, like children, the elderly, and adolescents. It happens mostly when the perpetrators are conducting crucial medical procedures and treatments.
Patients and their families put so much trust in hospitals and their staff. A patient will willingly agree to what the doctor suggests as long as the doctor promises to make them feel better. Sadly, most medical practitioners abuse this trust and take advantage of their patients in the most despicable manner.
When a patient is admitted to a hospital, they forgo most elements of self-reliance, including some of the essential functions that any adult can manage when in good health. Patients need help with medicating, toileting, ambulation, and even eating and drinking. Some patients do not recognize their surroundings due to their illness. Others suffer memory loss, and others are unconscious most of the time. That makes them completely vulnerable and in a state where they cannot recognize what is happening.
The law expects hospital staff to exercise professionalism when handling hospitalized patients, regardless of their current situation. Sadly, some medical practitioners disregard these professional guidelines.
When a patient is sexually assaulted in a hospital, they could be injured for life, depending on the gravity of the offense. Some suffer severe physical injuries, while others suffer from emotional trauma. These are damages the hospitals must be accountable for. Thus, all victims of hospital sexual abuse need to report their cases immediately after the offense happens. The perpetrators and sometimes the hospital will be criminally and civilly liable for the incurred damages.
Liability in Hospital Sex Abuse Cases
When a patient reports a case of sexual abuse in a hospital, an in-depth investigation into the matter is necessary to determine a responsible party/parties. Personal injury cases in California are not usually as straightforward as they seem. For instance, if a therapist sexually assaulted you or your loved one within a hospital, the therapist and/or the hospital could be liable for the incurred damages. That is why you need legal help from an experienced sex crime attorney to piece together a solid claim for your injuries.
When a hospital negligently fails in its duty to protect patients under its care, it could be liable for the damages if a patient is sexually abused within the facility. Most personal injury lawsuits assert that employers are partly or wholly accountable for their employee’s wrongful acts. Sometimes individual perpetrators are fully responsible for their actions, but their employer is partly to blame in other cases.
An employer could be accountable for the resultant damages if they did not follow safety precautions while hiring a hospital staff. Background checks are necessary before employing hospital staff for hospitals to end up with professional employees. Employers must take time to validate personal information about a potential employee to avoid making regrettable mistakes. A sexual offender will likely have a criminal record that a hospital employer must know before hiring.
Even though employers should not discriminate against a potential employee based on the employee’s criminal record, it helps to know the kind of person working directly with your patients. Most sexual offenders are repeat offenders. It means that a person with a sexual abuse background is more likely to repeat the offense if a chance presents itself. But it is worth noting that offenders are completely capable of transforming. Potential employees with a criminal background can be assigned other duties that do not require them to work directly with patients.
A hospital could also be liable for the damages incurred after a hospital sexual abuse case if its owner or management fails to act reasonably in response to a dangerous situation posed by its employees. For instance, if an immediate supervisor or manager learns of unacceptable conduct of one or more of his/her hospital staff and fails to act accordingly, subsequent abuse cases will be the hospital's responsibility. Remember that managers and supervisors represent the employer in the facility. They must take action immediately when they receive a negative report regarding a particular employee(s).
Additionally, hospitals must establish procedures and policies geared towards all patients’ safety and professional treatment. For instance, medical practitioners must seek the consent of the patient or his/her family before performing an invasive procedure. The patient must retain the right to be accompanied by a family member or friend during these procedures. It ensures that the patient is well-treated and comfortable throughout the treatment. Additionally, it stops any form of sexual abuse from happening.
If the hospital has laid down all the safety precautions regarding patient safety, and an employee sexually abuses a patient, the perpetrator will be fully responsible for his/her actions. In that case, the patient or patient’s family will file a lawsuit for compensation against the offender.
California personal injury laws allow compensation for sexual abuse victims if the plaintiff can demonstrate in court that another party was negligent in causing his/her injuries. A qualified sex crime lawyer will help you prove in a civil court that there was indeed a breach of duty of care and that breach was the cause of your damages. If you can prove that the hospital’s negligence was why you suffered sexual abuse, you will be eligible for total compensation for your injuries.
Ways To Prevent Hospital Sexual Abuse
Hospital sexual abuse is unfortunate. The only way to help potential victims in the future is to prevent it from happening altogether. Fortunately, hospitals and medical practitioners can take some measures to avoid all forms of abuse in their facilities.
For instance, a hospital can hire only fully qualified employees in skills, experience, professionalism, and conduct. The vetting process is very crucial when recruiting hospital staff. Employers should conduct background checks on every potential employee and validate their credentials and qualifications. That minimizes cases of criminals dealing with patients directly, endangering the lives of the patients the offender will be handling.
Vetting of employees should not stop after hiring. It should be done periodically as long as the employee is working in the hospital. It assures the employer of the professionalism and credibility of all employees at all times.
Additionally, hospitals could implement regular training programs for employees on various topics. In these training programs, employees can be taught professionalism, the kind of relationship they should have with patients, and how they can avoid wrongful acts that could lead to lawsuits. Employees should be reminded of their code of ethics at all times.
Supervision could also help in the fight against hospital sexual abuse. Hospitals should have supervisors in all departments to ensure that service delivery to patients is satisfactory. Close supervision of employees will minimize wrong conduct and abuse, including sexual abuse in hospitals.
Additionally, there must be specific and clear reporting policies in hospitals through which patients and employees can report any suspected wrongful acts immediately they occur. Any suspected abuse must be dealt with immediately; it is reported to discourage a repeat of the same by another employee. Cases of sexual abuse should not be taken lightly or covered up. It discourages victims from reporting and gives the offenders the go-ahead to commit more atrocities. After all, no one is taking action against them.
How a Sex Crime Attorney Can Help
Sexual abuse is a severe offense in California and other states. States laws have severe penalties for sex offenders, including lengthy prison terms, hefty fines, and a possibility of registering oneself as a sexual offender in a public registry. On top of criminal liabilities, any party liable for hospital sexual abuse can civically be held accountable for the consequential damages. A sex crime attorney can take you through the legal process to ensure that you file a winning lawsuit in a civil court for compensation. Thus, you need the help of a qualified sex crime lawyer from the start of the process.
Sex crime victims are sometimes not in a mental or emotional position to follow a legal process to obtain justice against the perpetrator or responsible party. Some are left with physical injuries, for which they require medical care before seeking justice. That is why you need legal help to ensure that a legal expert handles the case for you as you recover from your injuries. Your attorney will take time to study your case, gather evidence, and seek expert advice to ensure that you have a solid claim against the liable party.
Legal advice is necessary for anyone pursuing justice and/or compensation for the wrongful acts. It is not unusual to find victims of sexual abuse unaware of what they must do to find justice or compensation for the abuse they suffered. A sex crime attorney has studied all details of the law to offer quality and timely advice that will help you make the right decision regarding your situation. Your attorney has your best interests in mind. Therefore, he/she will offer advice and guide you into taking steps that will bring you a favorable outcome.
Sometimes it is difficult for victims of sexual abuse to face their abusers without becoming emotional or suffering a panic attack. In that case, a sex crime attorney will attend all those meetings on your behalf. You do not have to go back to the hospital where you were abused or meet with your abuser or people that failed to protect you when you needed it the most. Your attorney will be there to represent you and ensure that your best interests are considered every step of the legal process.
After hiring an attorney, meet them immediately to discuss a strategy for your situation. Together, you will plan how to execute that strategy. With the right plan and sufficient evidence, your attorney will file your claim in court with all the damages you seek for the abuse you suffered. The judge will study your case and the evidence and listen to the defendant’s evidence to make the final decision.
Compensation Available for Hospital Sexual Abuse Victims
Hospital sexual abuse qualifies as a criminal and civil case. Victims can report their abusers have them arrested and tried in a criminal court, where they face total penalties provided under the law for the specific offense. Additionally, victims can seek compensation for their damages against the responsible party by filing a lawsuit in a civil court. It means that hospital sexual abuse victims can obtain compensation through criminal and civil justice systems.
Compensation in a criminal case is not guaranteed unless penalties for the offense include a requirement for the defendant to pay restitution to the victim or the victim’s family. Restitution refers to a right by sexual abuse victims to receive compensation for crime-related losses. The defendant is ordered to pay the victim for any out-of-pocket expenses the victim might have incurred in medical bills, counseling, lost wages, doctor’s visit, and other economic costs. However, restitution does not include non-economic damages.
That is why the victim retains the right to file a civil case against the liable party. The victim can recover compensation for the economic and non-economic damages incurred due to hospital sexual abuse through this lawsuit.
Economic damages include all monetary costs and expenses the victim incurred right after abuse. These damages should be connected to the abuse and could consist of the following:
Treatment and medicine costs
Counseling and therapy costs
Future medical or therapy costs
An experienced sex crime attorney will guide you to list all your damages and their values to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Non-economic damages include all the damages you incurred after abuse whose dollar value is not immediately identifiable. They could consist of the following:
Pain and suffering
Stress and anxiety
Any mental and emotional suffering you experienced after abuse must be included here. Some sexual abuse issues are severe and could leave the victim incapacitated even after treatment. You can include any disability you have incurred due to the abuse under the non-economic damages.
Lastly, hospital sexual abuse victims are eligible for punitive damages. These are awarded by the judge at his/her discretion, depending on the gravity of the offense. Judges award punitive damages to punish offenders and warn against similar conduct.
Find a Skilled Sex Crime Lawyer Near Me
Have you or someone you know suffered hospital sexual abuse in Los Angeles, CA?
It helps to know the measures you can take to recover your damages. A skilled sex crime lawyer offers advice and support in filing a successful claim against the liable party in a civil court. With the right legal help, you could recover a settlement you deserve for the past, present, and future abuse-related damages. We have a competent team of dedicated attorneys at Sex Crime Attorney that could help you prepare, plan and file a lawsuit against the liable party. Contact us at 424-835-9799 and allow us to review your case to strategize on the right way forward.