Medical Sexual Abuse Lawyers

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Medical Sexual Abuse Lawyers

Due to the nature of clinical settings and doctor-patient relationships, the majority of sexual assault in medical facilities often go unreported. Sadly, it can happen in ways that are systemic and recur over time. These incidents are often linked with deficiencies and negligence in the health institution’s policies. Such incidents can create long-term negative effects for survivors.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual misconduct or abuse in a hospital or other medical facility, contact the compassionate attorneys at Hodes Milman, LLP at (949) 640-8222 for help. We have decades of combined experience handling medical facility sexual misconduct cases and offer knowledgeable and compassionate counsel to victims.

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Hodes Milman Attorneys Secure the Largest Settlement for Sexual Abuse in History

An example of how sexual assault in medical settings can be systemic, pervasive, and ongoing is the George Tyndall case. Tyndall, a former gynecologist at the University of Southern California (USC) was implicated in hundreds of sexual misconduct allegations as more than 800 female students came forward with reports against him.

Tyndall’s conduct included inappropriate touching and comments about bodies, photographing sensitive body parts, and performing medically unnecessary exams. Such misconduct left many of the assault survivors with long-term trauma and psychological damage.

Hodes Milman, LLP attorneys Jeff Milman and Dan Hodes worked with other attorneys to secure an $861.5 million settlement, the largest settlement for sexual abuse in history. The settlement award will help the victims obtain the resources needed to address their losses.

Besides monetary compensation for the victims, the case also resulted in other significant outcomes. These included changes to the statute of limitations (filing deadlines) so that more survivors could come forward, as well as changes to USC’s misconduct reporting procedures. The lawsuit is a powerful example of how legal action can accomplish real, meaningful change in our communities and health institutions.

Why Is Sexual Abuse in Medical Facilities Unreported?

It is shocking to think about, but sexual abuse by doctors and staff in hospitals and medical facilities happens more often than most people would believe. There have been thousands of cases of doctors sexually abusing patients in both hospitals and clinic offices reported to authorities over the last decade. However, fewer than 1 in 10 victims do not report when doctors abuse them, the numbers are almost certainly much higher. Victims range from children to the elderly.

Why do cases go unreported? Often times, victims:

  • Feel intimidated by doctors
  • Are afraid no one will believe them
  • Experience shame or confusion in connection with the incident
  • May not even realize they have been violated in the first place
  • May simply not know how to go about reporting it

However, reporting doctor sexual abuse in medical facilities can be important not only for the individual, but also for the community in general. 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. These issues with unreported cases are similar to those concerns associated with elder abuse and other forms of healthcare-related misconduct.

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.

What Are Common Examples of Sexual Assault in Hospital Settings?

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 property punish wrongdoers.

Here are examples of sexual abuse and assault 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 gown
  • Taking photos or video of an exposed patient without their consent or for personal use
  • Inappropriate conduct in front of the patient
  • Rape, which has happened to patients while under sedation

A study of sexual violation of patients by physicians identified specific factors that were present in many medical sexual abuse cases. These were:

  • The physician was a male over the age of 39
  • The doctor was not board-certified
  • The doctor was practicing in a non-academic setting
  • The patient was being examined alone

While these factors don’t automatically indicate that abuse has occurred or will occur, you should seek assistance if you feel threatened or unsafe. File a report if you feel that your rights or privacy were violated in any way during the course of treatment.

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What Do Damages in a Medical Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Cover?

Patrons of medical facilities may be entitled to significant compensation for the losses, long-term effects and hardships they experience as a result of sexual assault. Patients often experience ongoing trauma, depression, PTSD, and other conditions after an assault incident.

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.

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

MICRA Does Not Apply in Medical Sexual Abuse Cases

The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, or “MICRA” places certain limits on the damages that can be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, MICRA generally does not apply to intentional torts 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.

Medical Facility Sexual Abuse by Other Patients

Sexual abuse in a hospital or healthcare setting doesn’t always just involve assaults by a doctor or physician. In many instances, the assault could happen from patient to patient. This is common for example in cases where one patient is unconscious or incapacitated, and/or the patients are sharing hospital rooms.

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 assault but failed to take steps to prevent it
  • Failed to report the assault properly
  • Actively assisted or enabled in the assault

Again, underreporting is also an issue when it comes to patient-to-patient sexual abuse. Contacting a lawyer for assistance can help provide the survivor with justice, as well as create safer environments in medical facilities.

People who were sexually assaulted at a medical facility often come forward with their own cases once they see someone taking action. This can help hold the proper parties liable and prevent future incidents from occurring.

Contact Our Firm Today

Medical sexual abuse is an egregious act that must be uncovered and confronted. These types of acts often leave the survivor with life-long emotional scars and trauma. In many cases, this type of abuse is allowed to persist in medical settings due to the negligence of the entire institution’s policies and administration.

At Hodes Milman, LLP 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 guide you towards the best possible remedy for you and your family.

Medical Sexual Abuse FAQs

Why should I file a medical sexual abuse lawsuit?

Underreporting is a challenge when it comes to any type of sexual assault case. However, contacting a lawyer and initiating legal action can yield many positive benefits for the survivor and their families. Pursuing a lawsuit can help ensure that the survivor is compensated for their losses and is able to obtain whatever treatment and guidance they need. Legal action can also uncover and prevent similar cases from happening at the facility.

When should I file a medical sexual abuse lawsuit?

If you have been subject to a sexual assault in a medical facility, it is in your best interests to pursue legal action as soon as possible. There are several reasons for this, including:

  • Filing deadlines will apply; once the filing window closes, you may miss out on your chance to obtain a legal remedy
  • Evidence that can be used in trial may change or become more difficult to obtain over time
  • Other people may be affected by misconduct; filing promptly can prevent other assaults from happening
What should I do if a doctor sexually assaulted me?

If you’ve been assaulted in a medical facility, the first thing you should do is to make sure you are safe. You should take steps to protect yourself, which include:

  • Obtain medical assistance
  • Contact a friend, loved one, or a hotline if you need to talk to someone
  • File a police report and/or a report with the medical facility 
  • Get in touch with a lawyer to learn what your legal options are
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.

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When you work with us, you’ll see the difference. A lot of firms are quick to show you numbers, and it is absolutely true that your lawyer should have experience and a strong track record in the area that you require. However, we’ll take it one step further. We also believe that your attorney should put your needs, cares and desires first. Because you deserve more than just compensation for your losses - you deserve a true advocate.

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