Victims of Sexual Assault

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Houston Sexual Assault Injury Attorneys

Civil Litigation for Victims of Sexual Assault

The effects of sexual abuse and assault are immense, often leading to numerous physical, emotional, and financial hardships for victims and their families. At The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC, we represent victims of sexual assault in seeking financial compensation for the devastating economic and non-economic damages they have endured. We believe that you deserve justice, and we are here to help.

Led by former chief prosecutor and founding attorney, Steven Shellist, our firm handles complex civil litigation involving sexual abuse, assault, and related crimes. We have decades of trial experience and are widely recognized as authorities within the local legal community. Our Houston sexual assault injury attorneys recognize the devastating and sensitive nature of these cases, which is why they provide clients with the highest level of compassionate, personalized service possible.

If you, your child, or your loved one has been impacted by sexual abuse or assault, contact The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC today at (713) 715-5000 for a free and confidential consultation.

Defining Sexual Assault

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), sexual assault includes any unwanted or non-consensual sexual touching, contact, or act. Sexual assault can be violent or non-violent and may involve the use of physical force, coercion, pressuring, or manipulation. Essentially, sexual assault occurs any time an individual engages in sexual conduct with another without the other person’s explicit consent, including when the other person is legally or practically incapable of giving consent.

Examples of sexual assault include:

  • Rape
  • Attempted rape
  • Non-consensual penetration
  • Groping
  • Fondling
  • Unwanted sexual touching
  • Forcing someone to perform sexual acts
  • Forced oral sex
  • Forced penetration

This is not a complete list; any unwanted or non-consensual sexual contact constitutes sexual abuse/assault. This includes cases in which a person cannot give consent, including as a result of incapacitation or age.

Common Signs of Sexual Assault

Sexual assault can manifest in various ways, and it’s important to note that experiences can differ greatly among individuals. Some common signs of sexual assault include:

  • Physical Injuries: Bruises, cuts, or injuries in genital or anal areas. These can be signs of forced sexual contact.
  • Emotional and Behavioral Changes: Sudden mood swings, depression, anxiety, fearfulness, withdrawal, or a noticeable change in behavior could indicate trauma.
  • Sexual Issues: Difficulty walking or sitting, pain or discomfort during urination, unusual genital bleeding, or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) without prior history or explanation.
  • PTSD Symptoms: Flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance, or avoidance of situations that may remind the individual of the assault.
  • Changes in Relationships: Difficulty trusting others, avoiding intimacy, or experiencing strained relationships.
  • Substance Abuse: Increased use of drugs or alcohol might be an attempt to cope with the trauma.
  • Changes in Daily Routine: Skipping school or work, avoiding certain places, or experiencing disruptions in daily activities.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia, frequent nightmares, or changes in sleeping patterns can be indicative of trauma.
  • Physical Health Issues: Unexplained physical ailments like stomachaches, headaches, or other stress-related symptoms.
  • Self-Harm or Suicidal Thoughts: Engaging in self-destructive behavior or expressing thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

What Is a Sexual Assault Injury Lawsuit?

While criminal proceedings work to uphold the law and impose criminal penalties against sexual offenders, a civil lawsuit allows victims to seek monetary compensation for damages they have endured as a result of the offender’s actions. This includes bodily injuries, as well as emotional injuries and financial losses.

These damages may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Trauma
  • Emotional distress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Mental health treatment, including counseling and therapy
  • Medications
  • Lost income, wages, or earnings
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Future medical expenses

Because a civil lawsuit is entirely separate from a criminal case, the outcome of criminal proceedings against the offender does not necessarily affect the outcome of your lawsuit. It is possible to successfully recover a settlement or verdict from the liable party even when a criminal case does not result in a guilty verdict.

What to Do After Being the Victim of Sexual Assault

Seeking damages in a civil lawsuit after experiencing sexual assault can be a complex and emotionally challenging process. Here are steps to consider:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Get medical care immediately. Preserve evidence by avoiding showering, changing clothes, or altering the environment where the assault occurred.
  2. Report the Assault: File a police report as soon as possible. This helps in documenting the incident and may be necessary for legal proceedings.
  3. Consult with an Attorney: Find a lawyer experienced in handling sexual assault cases. They can guide you through the legal process, explain your rights, and assess your case’s viability.
  4. Gather Evidence: Preserve any evidence, including clothing worn during the assault, photographs of injuries, medical records, and any correspondence (texts, emails) that might be relevant.
  5. Understand Your Rights: Be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in your jurisdiction. It’s essential to know the time limits within which legal action must be taken.
  6. Consider Counseling or Therapy: Seek emotional support and therapy to cope with the trauma. Additionally, therapy records may serve as evidence in your case.
  7. Document Your Experience: Keep a journal detailing the assault, its effects on your life, emotional distress, and any disruptions to your daily routine or work.
  8. Evaluate Legal Options: Your lawyer will discuss possible legal strategies and avenues for seeking damages. This might include suing the perpetrator, institutions (like a workplace or school) for negligence, or pursuing compensation through a victim compensation program.
  9. Consider Settlement vs. Trial: Assess whether to pursue a settlement out of court or proceed to trial. Your lawyer will advise you on the potential outcomes, risks, and benefits of each option.
  10. Navigate Legal Proceedings: Your attorney will represent you in court, manage legal procedures, and advocate on your behalf.
  11. Seek Support Networks: Utilize support groups or organizations that specialize in assisting survivors of sexual assault. They can offer emotional support, resources, and guidance.
  12. Prioritize Self-Care: Focus on self-care and well-being throughout the legal process. Seeking justice can be emotionally draining, so take breaks when needed and prioritize your mental health.

Remember, the process of seeking damages in a civil lawsuit can vary based on your location and the specifics of your case. Having a supportive network and a knowledgeable legal team can be invaluable in navigating this difficult journey.

How a Sexual Assault Injury Attorney Can Help

Victims of sexual assault and abuse are often left with painful physical injuries and deep emotional scars. The healing process can be extremely challenging, lengthy, and expensive. At The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC, we believe that offenders should be made accountable; victims should not have to simply shoulder these burdens on their own.

When you turn to our Houston sexual assault injury attorneys, you will receive compassionate, empathetic support from the moment you call until the moment your case is resolved—and beyond. We strive to develop meaningful, lasting relationships with the people we serve. We want you to know that you always have a legal team that is ready to fight for you and the justice you are owed.

Our attorneys can handle every aspect of your civil sexual assault lawsuit, including gathering important evidence, such as medical records, police reports, witness statements, and more. While we always try to resolve these cases via settlement, thereby helping our clients avoid trial, we know that this is not always possible. If necessary, we are prepared to tirelessly represent you and your rights in the courtroom. We work directly with our clients to fully understand their goals and always leave the ultimate decisions regarding your case up to you.

To speak to an attorney at our firm, contact us online or call (713) 715-5000. Your consultation is free, and we do not collect any legal fees unless we win your case.

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Houston Sexual Assault Injury Attorneys

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A Trusted Legal Analyst for ABC-13

Mr. Shellist also serves as a legal analyst on ABC-13, providing in-depth breakdowns on local cases and legal concerns. His analyses include insights into everything from jury selection to mistrials to civil rights, and he is frequently tapped by local media outlets to discuss his opinions on various high-profile cases, including the Casey Anthony murder trial.

What Attorney Shellist and His Team Bring to the Table

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Practicing Law for Two Decades

Having practiced law for 20 years, you can be confident attorney Steve Shellist can successfully handle your case.

Extensive Trial Experience

As a former chief prosecutor, Mr. Shellist knows how to present a compelling case in front of a jury.

Highly Personalized Representation

At Shellist Law, we believe every case requires tailored representation in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the client.

Legal Analyst on ABC-13

Over the years, Mr. Shellist has been called on by ABC-13 News to share his expertise on many newsworthy cases.
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We’re Ready To Evaluate Your Case

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Call The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC at (713) 715-5000 today to speak with our experienced team.
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