Calculating Damages in Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

In many ways, you can never measure the losses suffered due to sexual abuse. But when a survivor files a lawsuit for sexual assault, the jury will need guidance to calculate the compensation they should receive.

While it may not seem immediately obvious, the same factors and considerations go into calculating the damages in a sexual assault lawsuit as in other personal injury lawsuits. The jury will look at the economic and non-economic losses suffered due to the attack and compensate the survivor for those losses.

Economic Losses from Sexual Abuse

Economic damages cover all the financial consequences of the abuse. 

Some examples of these financial consequences include:

  • Bills for emergency room visits and doctor’s appointments
  • Expenses paid for past and future counseling and therapy
  • Lost income due to missed work
  • Diminished earning capacity from long-term disabilities

For the purposes of calculating economic losses, you can get compensation for any injuries caused by the abuse. Even if you suffered unusual physical or mental injuries, you could still get compensation for them under a principle known as the “eggshell skull rule.”

The value of your economic losses equals what you paid for them. Thus, you can calculate your economic damages by adding up the amounts you spent as documented in medical bills, credit card statements, and other financial records.

These numbers must be reasonable and necessary. A jury can reduce the amount you get paid if:

  • You overpaid for treatment
  • Your injuries did not justify the treatment you received
  • You missed more work than was necessary
  • You did not suffer any disabilities that will impact your ability to work

The amounts you get paid for economic damages are meant to make you whole financially. They do not account for the human costs of sexual abuse. These losses come from your non-economic damages.

Non-Economic Losses from Sexual Abuse

Non-economic damages cover the ways your attack diminished your quality of life. For example, you could experience insomnia, panic attacks, and decreased appetite. These experiences still reduce the peace, happiness, and enjoyment in your life, even if you never seek counseling.

By their nature, non-economic losses have no price tag. 

As a result, a jury must award an amount it finds fair based on:

  • The extent of the abuse
  • The severity of your mental and physical injuries
  • The life impact of the attack

You usually prove these losses using witness testimony about the anguish, suffering, and disabilities you suffer as a result of the abuse. Bear in mind that non-economic damages do not compensate you for the money you paid for these losses. Instead, non-economic damages compensate you for the losses themselves.

For example, 75% of sexual abuse survivors suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD causes a range of symptoms, including:

  • Chronic aches and pain
  • Flashbacks
  • Panic attacks
  • Nightmares
  • Paranoia
  • Dread and hopelessness
  • Anxiety and hypervigilance

If you see a therapist for your PTSD and pay $5,000 for treatment and medication, you have $5,000 in economic losses. But you also have to live with your symptoms. As a result, you deserve additional compensation above and beyond the $5,000 in economic damages you received.

Experts use two models for calculating non-economic damages. In the multiplier model, based on the severity of your non-economic losses, the jury assigns a multiplier between 1.5 and 5.0. The jury then multiplies your economic damages by the multiplier to calculate a total damage award.

In the per diem model, the jury assigns a daily value to your losses based on their severity. The jury multiplies the daily value by the number of days you suffered to calculate your non-economic losses.

Getting Compensation for Sexual Abuse

You can get compensation from the perpetrator of your sexual abuse. You can also pursue compensation from those who assisted, enabled, or facilitated the abuse by negligently hiring, retaining, or supervising the abuser. You should discuss your case with a lawyer to identify all the parties liable for your damages.

Contact Our Sexual Abuse Law Firm For Help Today

For more information, please contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.

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1430 Washington Ave Suite #226 St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 400-0000

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1509 NE Parvin Rd, Suite A., Kansas City, MO 64116
(816) 408-3448

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