How Can a Medical Sexual Abuse Lawyer Help?
What happens when the person you trust with your healthcare perpetrates sexual harm?
Permission to touch your body is not permission to violate it. This is true in doctor’s offices, dental offices, surgical hospitals, rapid care clinics, and outpatient establishments like physical therapy offices. Medical sexual abuse is a betrayal of patient trust and basic humanity. A medical sexual abuse lawyer can help you achieve justice.
Medical sexual abuse means any unwanted touching, sexual attack, or sexual harassment while under medical care or supervision. It can come from doctors, surgeons, nurses, or other hospital employees from physical therapists or cleaning and administrative task. It is always unacceptable.
The Orange County attorneys at Hodes Milman have decades of experience in helping patients and their families recover for injuries, including securing the largest settlement for sexual abuse in history. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual misconduct, abuse, or assault in a hospital or other medical facility, contact the compassionate attorneys at Hodes Milman at (949) 640-8222 for help. We are here to offer knowledgeable counsel to you and your family, and are ready to help see you through these difficult times.
Read on for more information on how sexual abuse is legally defined, how to report abuse, and what remedies a lawsuit may offer.
What Counts as Sexual Abuse by a Doctor?
Medical sexual abuse can take many forms and may occur in many different settings. It may involve doctors, surgeons, nurses, hospital staff, and other patients. Many sexual abuse cases in medical settings are the result of larger issues, such as negligent hiring and retention, or a failure to properly punish wrongdoers.
What Is Doctor Sexual Abuse?
Here are examples of doctor sexual abuse or doctor inappropriate touching that have occurred in hospitals and medical facilities:
- Touching of intimate body areas unrelated to the medical reason for the examination
- Sexual comments and innuendo
- Being asked to undress in front of the doctor or not being provided a dressing gown
- Taking photos or video of an exposed patient without their consent or for personal use
- Inappropriate conduct in front of the patient
Sexual abuse consists of any sexual activity that occurs without your consent.
What Is Medical Rape?
Sexual abuse by medical professionals can also fall under the category of medical rape. This includes:
- Penetration without consent
- Attempted penetration without consent
- Penetration of an unconscious person (in a coma or anesthetized for surgery)
Doctor sexual assault is a criminal act and may be prosecuted by police and law enforcement. However, regardless of whether a person is ever charged or found guilty, you may still have the ability to sue for medical rape. Doing so could help you find closure, compensation, and could potentially save others by revealing a predator.
These types of harassment, abuse, and assault could be grounds for filing a lawsuit against the perpetrator and the hospital that employed him or her.
If you have specific questions about a possible legal case and your rights under the law, contact the attorneys at Hodes Milman by calling (949) 640-8222 right away. Your communications with us are completely private and confidential. One phone call could lead to tremendous relief — representation by Hodes Milman means having an ally on your side.
Should I Sue If I Was Sexually Assaulted by My Doctor?
Your choice to sue after being sexually assaulted by a doctor is a personal one, and should be done in consultation with an experienced attorney like those at Hodes Milman. Your lawyer will review your case details, discuss your legal options, and can investigate the incident on your behalf in order to build the strongest possible case.
You may be entitled to significant compensation for the losses, long-term effects, and hardships you’ve experienced as a result of sexual assault. Patients often experience ongoing trauma, depression, PTSD, and other conditions after an assault incident.
Damages in a medical sexual abuse lawsuit can cover:
- Medical bills
- Professional counseling costs
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress, including anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, and other conditions
While no amount of payout can fully undo what happened, damages awards can help survivors gain access to additional treatment and remedies they might not otherwise receive.
Do MICRA Caps Apply in Medical Sexual Abuse Cases?
The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) places certain limits on the damages that can be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, MICRA generally does not apply to such as those involving doctors and sexual abuse or misconduct in medical facilities.
The sexual assault of a patient by a physician is not categorized as malpractice and falls outside the scope of MICRA.
Since MICRA is inapplicable, questions of liability and damages often shift to holding the hospital liable for the intentional misconduct of physicians and other medical professionals.
Of course, each case will be different; for this reason, it’s highly important to contact a lawyer if you have any questions about liability or the calculation of damages in connection with a medical sexual assault case. Specifically, it is important to hire a lawyer who has direct experience handling these specific types of medical sexual abuse claims, and who can maximize the amount of recovery available under the relevant laws.
How to Report a Doctor for Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse by medical professionals is a breach of the doctor’s oath. In addition to contacting a lawyer to help protect your rights, you can report a doctor or other healthcare professional for sexual abuse to:
- Your local police
- The state medical board
- The state’s Attorney General office
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline: (800) 656-4673
By reporting sexual misconduct to professional organizations, and reporting criminal attacks or abuse to police, you help protect yourself and other. These reports also may help strengthen your personal injury suit.
Filing a report or pursuing legal action for doctor sexual assault can often help uncover other cases, and help fix the systemic issues that allow such abuse to happen.
Contact Proven Medical Sexual Abuse Attorneys
Medical sexual abuse is an egregious violation of professional ethics and human dignity. By filing a lawsuit, you may be able to find satisfactory closure, as well as save others from experiencing the same harm. Every lawsuit that removes a predator from medical practice helps make hospitals and care facilities safer for patients of all ages.
Founding attorneys Dan Hodes and Jeff Milman were part of the team which secured the largest sexual abuse settlement in history — $861.5 million. This was a medical sexual abuse suit brought against gynecologist George Tyndall and the University of Southern California (USC) where he had access to female students. More than 800 women came forward with reports of verbal, photographic, and physical sexual abuse. The settlement money was in part awarded for their pain and suffering, and the ongoing care necessary to heal after such traumatic incidents.
At Hodes Milman, we stand firmly against such injustices and abuses. If you or a loved one have been affected by sexual abuse in a medical facility, contact us immediately at (949) 640-8222 for a private, confidential consultation. Whether the incident involved a doctor, hospital staff, or another patient, you are entitled to justice under the law. Our attorneys will listen to your story with compassion, and will use our proven experience to seek the best remedy for you and your family.
Medical Sexual Abuse FAQs
What if a child says, “A doctor touched my private parts?
Any accusation from a child should be taken seriously and reported to a counselor, law enforcement officer, or other trusted individual with a professional mandate to report or intervene (like a teacher).
As a child’s parent or legal guardian, you also have the right to file a lawsuit on their behalf, and secure damages that can help fund therapeutic care for the child, improve their financial stability, or fund their future opportunities like going to college or purchasing a home.
Why is sexual abuse in medical facilities often unreported?
The reasons people may not want to disclose instances of medical sexual abuse include:
- Feeling intimidated by doctors
- Fear that they will not be believed
- Feelings of shame or confusion in connection with the incident
- If they do not recognize that they have been violated in the first place (such as in the case of children, those with cognitive impairment, or patients who were unconscious at the time)
- They simply not know how to go about reporting abuse
Fewer than 1 in 10 abuse survivors choose to report, a rate that is true among children, adults, and elders. To come forward is an act of bravery that is truly heroic to those you may save by alerting people to a predator in their midst.
What if medical sexual abuse comes from another patient?
Assaults that happen between patients may still be considered the responsibility of the hospital or facility. Patient-to-patient sexual assault can occur when one patient is unconscious or incapacitated, or when patients are sharing a hospital room without nearby supervision. In addition to the perpetrator being held liable, the medical facility or institution may also share in the legal liability if they:
- Knew about the possibility of assault but failed to take steps to prevent it
- Failed to report the assault properly
- Actively assisted or enabled the assault
Reach out to the Irvine, California offices of Hodes Milman as soon as possible online or by calling (949) 640-8222. We have the experience you need to to obtain a successful resolution and move on to a brighter future.
How can a medical sexual assault attorney help me?
After an assault, a survivor may be under an extreme amount of distress and turmoil. An attorney can help alleviate many of the additional stress associated with such a situation. They can provide compassionate guidance and clarity in terms of what steps to take.
Also, an attorney will be able to initiate the process so the survivor can focus on their own healing and recovery. They can file paperwork, begin gathering evidence, and formulate a legal strategy for trial. Contact Hodes Milman Ikuta at (949) 640-8222 for representation and guidance for your claim.
ABOUT HODES MILMAN, LLP
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