Sexual Assault and Abuse

Sexual assaults are an epidemic across our country.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an American is the victim of sexual assault every 92 seconds. Many of those are in South Florida. On average, over 321,500 people in the United States are victims of sexual assault each year. Sexual assault can leave victims with serious physical injuries as well as emotional scars that can last a lifetime. Sexual assault survivors are more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, attempt suicide, and undergo significant emotional problems with family, school, or work. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault, you need an experienced sexual assault attorney with the resources and determination necessary to fight for you.

Unfortunately, sexual assault is frequently underreported and often overlooked.

Many sexual assault victims feel shame, embarrassment, or disbelief, which can keep them from reporting the attack. Others may even feel unsure of what constitutes sexual assault or that no one will believe them if they do go to the authorities. Drugs and alcohol are often involved in sexual assaults, and some victims may feel as though they “deserved it” or as though they are to blame. But the reality is that sexual assault victims are never to blame, and a good sexual assault lawyer will start by helping the victim understand that.

In criminal cases, the assailant can be convicted of a crime and sentenced to criminal penalties such as fines, probation, and imprisonment. This is in contrast to a civil sexual assault case, which can provide you compensation after your sexual assault. While this may not erase the memory of the event, it can help victims find justice and move on with their lives. Unlike criminal cases, civil cases can be resolved confidentially or pursued under a pseudonym like “Jane Doe” to protect your privacy.

We know how to hold individuals and third parties—like companies and employers—liable for sexual assaults, which will empower you or your loved one to move forward after these terrible events.

Sexual assault cases must be handled with care because of the sensitive topics involved.

If you or a loved one was the victim of a sexual assault or rape, you need an attorney experienced in these sensitive areas of the law. The team of sexual assault attorneys at Mase Seitz Briggs in Miami, Florida, has handled numerous sexual assault lawsuits and has the experience to represent you or a loved one to get you the compensation you deserve following these traumatic events. We have years of experience working with experts trained in assisting victims of sexual assault and rape. And, as a result, we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients who have been the victim of a sexual assault or rape.

If you or a loved one has been injured, our sexual assault lawyers can help you. Contact us for a free case consultation and to find out how we can help you get the justice you deserve.

Colleges and Universities

Sexual violence is disturbingly common on college and university campuses.

In fact, one in five women report being sexually assaulted during college, and more than 11% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation at some point. In the great majority of sexual assault cases, the victim knows the assailant, making it more personal than other crimes. And often, sexual assault victims cannot consent to sex because they are drugged, passed out, drunk, or incapacitated.

Many victims of sexual assault on campuses never come forward.

Some are unsure whether their incident constitutes “sexual assault.” Some fear reprisal, worry that no one will believe them, or think that they will be publicly shamed or receive negative attention if they report their assault. Especially when it comes to sexual assault and rape on college campuses, victims often think that they are wholly or partly to blame because they knew their attacker or because they were under the influence. Whether the assailant is a stranger or someone the victim knows, being a victim of sexual assault can be traumatic and difficult to deal with. But sexual assault victims are never to blame, and there are systems in place to help them recover and feel whole again.

A federal law called Title IX imposes a duty on colleges and universities that receive federal funding to have systems, policies, and procedures in place to help prevent sexual assaults and rapes from occurring on campuses or university property. When incidents do occur, this law also imposes a duty on schools to respond immediately, effectively, and appropriately in addressing the situation. For example, if there is evidence that a sexual assault on campus was reported to administrators and the school did not investigate appropriately or remove the perpetrator from campus, this could be considered negligence and a violation of Title IX and be cause to file a lawsuit against a university.

Even outside of Title IX, colleges and universities may be liable for sexual assault and rape occurring on campus if their negligence is what allowed the incident to occur. Negligence can occur in a variety of forms, including:

  •  Not keeping the campus safe
  • Failing to maintain adequate lighting at night
  • Failing to employ campus security guards
  • Failing to monitor student housing, including dormitories, fraternity houses, and sorority houses
  • Being informed of a rape or sexual assault and failing to initiate a sufficient investigation
  • Hiring employees, including professors or administrators, with a record of sexual abuse
  • Failing to take action when a school-sponsored organization, such as a fraternity, engages in conduct involving sexual assault

Sex crimes are physically and emotionally painful for victims and often have long-lasting effects. Sexual assault and rape victims have a right to seek justice beyond pressing criminal charges against the perpetrator. If colleges or universities could have prevented a sexual assault or rape, they may be civilly liable. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault or rape on a college or university campus, you may have a claim against the school. Our experienced trial attorneys are available to review your case and determine whether you have a viable action against the college or university that did not do enough to prevent a crime from happening.

Hotels and Resorts

Countless tourists and locals frequent Florida’s numerous hotels and resorts.

Tourism is the lifeblood of Florida’s economy. Many people staying in hotels and resorts, whether for business or on vacation, have a false sense of security. Unfortunately, hotels and resorts are common sites of sexual assaults. Some people target vulnerable tourists and exploit lax security measures present at many hotels and resorts. Guests can also be drugged or taken advantage of after being over-served alcohol at the bar or pool or at the hotel spa, during massages, and otherwise. In many instances, the hotel or resort may be to blame for your injuries as the sexual assault could have been prevented. If you or a loved one was sexually assaulted at a hotel or resort, our experienced hotel and hospitality attorneys in Miami, Florida, know how to get you justice.

Hotels and resorts owe a duty of reasonable care to their patrons to maintain a safe environment.

In Florida, hotel guests are typically considered “business invitees.” Property owners must routinely inspect for foreseeable risks, address any that are found, and, in some situations, provide warnings if the risk of crime is “foreseeable” on the property. A property owner can be legally responsible for sexual assaults occurring on its premises in situations where it knows of the risk of crime but takes inadequate measures to prevent crime, and a good hotel negligence attorney knows how to prove it. A hotel or resort may have inadequate security, inadequate lighting, or easy accessibility to private guest quarters, such as broken locks.

Property owners can also be negligent with respect to some action or inaction in its hiring of employees, such as failing to conduct adequate background checks, failing to provide proper supervision or oversight, or retaining an employee after discovering he or she poses a potential risk to guests. When this occurs, it takes an attorney who knows the intricacies of hotel negligence law to establish how this led to injury—and secure you the hotel injury compensation you deserve.

Individuals who have been sexually assaulted due to the actions or inactions of hotels and resorts are entitled to compensation for all of the damages they have incurred as a result. This can include:

  • Present and future medical and rehabilitation costs (including therapy, medications, and psychological care)
  • Economic damages such as lost wages and loss of future income
  • Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress
  • Punitive damages in certain situations

There is a limited amount of time in which you may bring a claim for negligence against the property owner of a motel, hotel, or resort. The trial attorneys at Mase Seitz Briggs in Miami, Florida, are the top lawyers in South Florida hospitality law and understand the difficulty faced by those who have been victims of sexual violence. We can help you recover full compensation for your injuries in Florida or elsewhere.