If you are a victim of sexual assault, knowing what to do and how to do it can be confusing and overwhelming. After all, the trauma you have experienced is significant and you are likely facing many obstacles — social, emotional, and practical — in your efforts to respond to the assault and move on with the life you want to live. This is not a road you should travel alone.
Sexual violence is never acceptable. At The Stoddard Firm, we are so sorry for your experience and your pain. We are ready to stand by you and are well-equipped to help you move forward.
We strongly believe in pursuing justice for sexual assault victims and strive to hold accountable those who commit, encourage, or enable sexual violence.
Engaging an Atlanta sexual assault attorney is the first step in proceeding with your life. The damages you may be awarded through a sexual assault lawsuit can help reimburse you for the expenses you have incurred and compensate you for the pain you are in.
Our Atlanta team is experienced in handling cases like this. We can help you hold those whose negligence contributed to your assault responsible through a personal injury lawsuit. Contact us today at 470-467-2200 to schedule a free consultation. Our team of professionals is ready to go to work for you.
Why The Stoddard Firm Is Your Best Choice in Legal Representation
Our Experience and Approach Are a Benefit to Our Clients
Selecting the best firm to represent you in your sexual assault case is likely not a decision you ever thought you would need to make. After all, most people don’t anticipate being a victim of sexual violence. Yet, here you are — and you are not alone. Sexual assault is more common than you may think. Unfortunately, you don’t always have control over the factors that impact your life, and sometimes their effects can be incredibly damaging.
One of the most important things for you to do, as you embark upon your future, is to regain your sense of control. Identifying who should represent you in your legal action is one of the first choices you can make. You want to work with a firm that is not only knowledgeable and experienced, but also one that has a reputation for providing empathetic and respectful service. After all, you have been through a lot.
The Stoddard Firm is all of these things. Our founding attorney and sexual assault lawyer, Matt Stoddard, has a long-standing reputation for building a firm that stands up for those who have been wronged. In Atlanta, the team at The Stoddard Firm is well-known for providing the highest quality services to those impacted by sexual assault. When you work with us, you will benefit from our . . .
Commitment: Pursuing justice for those whose lives have been impacted by the negligent behavior of others is a hallmark of our firm.
Experience: For years we have successfully represented individuals in and around Atlanta.
Recognition: We know how an individual’s or an organization’s negligence can impact the chances that others could be victimized, and we have been successful in obtaining settlements in these types of cases.
Knowledge: Matthew Stoddard and his team are well-versed in Georgia law and understand the responsibilities that organizations have to protect others.
Approach: Our client interactions emphasize kind and responsive service. We are proud of the reputation we have earned and are always grateful for those clients who share their experiences working with us.
Reputation: We work hard on behalf of our clients, always striving to maximize their settlements.
Free consultation: Sexual assault is personal and devastating. You want to know that the sexual assault attorney with whom you choose to work is someone with whom you feel comfortable. We provide you the opportunity to meet us, at no charge. This meeting allows you to gain a first-hand understanding of how we communicate.
As a client of The Stoddard Firm, your case and your well-being become our priority. We will leverage the resources of our entire firm in pursuit of an appropriate settlement on your behalf. We assume your goals as our own and fight tirelessly for your best interests. Contact us today at 470-467-2200 to learn just how powerfully we can support you.
How Our Sexual Assault Attorney in Atlanta Can Help You
We Guide You Through the Most Complex Processes
While we could never truly understand what you have experienced, we certainly can appreciate the trauma to which you have been exposed. The impact of sexual assault can affect all aspects of your life. While the individual who assaulted you is certainly responsible for their behavior, if the actions or inactions of others contributed to the possibility of the attack, they too should be held accountable. We can help do this.
The experienced representation provided by our sexual assault lawyer is truly valuable. You want to work with a professional who understands the law and knows how to prove negligence in sexual assault cases. You need your attorney to be patient and kind while communicating with you, but aggressive and tenacious when negotiating and litigating on your behalf.
The sexual assault lawyer at The Stoddard Firm is well-positioned to support all of your legal needs.
Our firm understands the importance of handling the entirety of the legal process on your behalf so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery — two things which will require all of your energy and effort. Rest assured we will:
Fully investigate all aspects of your case
Collect relevant evidence
Identify all parties whose negligence contributed to the attack
Calculate and prove damages
Complete and file all required legal paperwork in a timely fashion
Negotiate settlements on your behalf
Litigate your case, if necessary.
We believe that individuals and entities must uphold their responsibilities. When they don’t and sexual assault occurs as a result, they must be held accountable. Our team is on your side, and we will strive to maximize your settlement. In short, we will do everything in our power to make your future seem just a bit brighter.
Understanding the Many Forms of Sexual Assault
The Concept Is Broad-Based
Many people are confused by the term “sexual assault” and what it does and does not cover. While legal definitions vary from state to state, sexual assault generally means any physical contact of a sexual nature that is attempted or completed without the full, competent, informed consent of all participants. The term “rape” is often used interchangeably with “sexual assault,” but rape is just one form of sexual assault, usually defined by the presence of a penetrative or oral sex act.
Other forms of contact that qualify as sexual assault when performed without consent include, but are not limited to:
Touching/grabbing of private areas
Forced touching of another person’s private areas.
Under Georgia law, sexual assault also applies to many cases of sexual contact where one party has disciplinary authority over the other, such as a teacher and student, parole officer and parolee, or psychiatrist and patient. In these situations, where one person is at a significant power disadvantage, the feeling of obligation — whether conscious or unconscious — to do what the more powerful participant wants can render any consent or appearance of consent invalid.
Sexual violence overwhelmingly targets women, but men can be sexually victimized as well, and more frequently than many people think. Additionally, LGBTQ individuals of all genders are exposed to elevated risks.
Sexual violence can happen at any age, to people of all body/personality types.
Sometimes, survivors of non-rape sexual assault worry that they are overreacting. They may have been told that what happened to them “wasn’t that bad,” or they may simply be afraid of disrespecting or siphoning attention from rape survivors by speaking out about their own experiences. At The Stoddard Firm, we know this is completely untrue.
It’s important to remember that all sexual violence is unacceptable and can lead to severe long-term side effects for survivors. Even incidents that outside observers might falsely interpret as minor often result in PTSD. In addition to the well-known psychological symptoms of depression and anxiety, PTSD can also manifest in physical complications over time, including inflammatory conditions and immune system disruptions.
Allowing non-rape sexual assaults to go unchallenged only emboldens sexual predators to continue and escalate their activities, making society’s rape problem worse, not better.
You are well within your rights to hold all those whose behaviors contributed to your attack responsible — and we will help you.
Holding Responsible Parties Accountable Is Critical
Our Sexual Assault Lawyer Can Help
Enablement isn’t just a societal problem; it’s a corporate strategy. Hotels, stores, gas stations, and other privately owned businesses are common settings for sexual assaults of both patrons and employees. After a sexual assault occurs, the most convenient person for the property owner to blame is the victim. If he or she can be bullied into feeling at fault, the incident disappears without consequence from a business perspective.
Before the rash of sexual assaults at Massage Envy locations became public knowledge, for example, the company had a policy of routinely blaming and harassing victims who came forward, talking them out of calling the police and claiming that, by getting a massage, they were accepting all risks of sexual assault.
When these tactics fail, the second-most convenient person for a business to blame is the perpetrator. This may seem reasonable. After all, there’s no excuse for sexual assault, no matter what the surrounding circumstances may be, and perpetrators do deserve to be held fully responsible for their actions. However, businesses are counting on people’s justified anger and disgust toward sexual predators to distract from the business’s own culpability in harboring predatory behavior. If survivors can be persuaded to focus their attention on the perpetrator alone, then the business can write the incident off without reexamining its own practices.
Meanwhile, if the perpetrator cannot be caught or identified, or is successfully imprisoned but has no means to pay off a settlement, the survivor is left to cover the costs alone.
In the case of rape survivors, that financial burden is estimated at $122,461 over a lifetime in medical bills, lost productivity, and other expenses. The monetary costs of other forms of sexual assault can be equally as debilitating.
With the exception of assaults on school property, many people don’t even think about the location where a sexual assault takes place, or the responsibility of the business or property owner to protect people from unsafe conditions. Others worry that holding the owner even partially responsible would be frivolous, greedy, or unfair. It’s true that sexual assaults sometimes take business owners completely by surprise, but that’s often not the case. Business owners typically know the likely threats to their patrons long in advance, in far more detail than the patrons do themselves, and have plenty of opportunity to decide whether and how to respond.
For example, a gas station owner who has seen sexual assaults happen repeatedly on the property but refuses to install high-resolution security cameras, or even file police reports so that local offenders can be caught, is putting profit margins above consumer safety and should be held accountable. The same goes for a massage parlor owner who refuses to fire or report a therapist for inappropriate behavior, because doing so might lead to bad publicity or unfilled appointment times.
None of these negligent business practices detract from the guilt of the perpetrator, but they need to be addressed in their own right. At The Stoddard Firm, our sexual assault lawyer is well-versed in Georgia law. He understands the responsibilities of businesses operating within the state and knows how to prove negligence. As a victim of sexual assault you have been physically violated and are entitled to retribution. We will fight tirelessly to hold those who did not act appropriately accountable for their behaviors and help you to maximize a settlement for the damages you sustained.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our Sexual Asasult Attorney Addresses Your Most Pressing Concerns
As a victim of sexual assault, it is not surprising that you have questions. The language governing sexual assault is complicated, and the process is confusing. While the answer to many of your questions will depend upon the specific facts of your case, there are some concerns to which more general answers are appropriate. We have shared some of those most often raised, along with our sexual assault lawyer’s responses, below.
What should I do if I have been assaulted?
There are several steps you should take. First, seek medical attention, making sure to let those caring for you know that you were a victim of sexual assault. They need to collect samples as evidence while they treat you. Next, report the incident both to the facility where you were attacked and to the authorities. Finally, contact a sexual assault attorney in Atlanta.
The manager of the location where my assault took place suggested I not contact the police. What should I do?
Always report sexual assault to the local authorities. The individual who suggested you keep quiet is likely looking out for their own best interests and that of the company for which they work. Make sure to share this communication with your sexual assault attorney, and refer all additional questions to him.
I was attacked in my apartment complex; can the building owners be held responsible?
Depending upon the circumstances, they can. Apartment complex landlords have the same responsibility as commercial business owners to protect people on their properties from foreseeable dangers. This can involve implementing basic security measures like maintaining gates, locks, and adequate lighting in common areas. Your sexual assault lawyer can help prove how a lack of security contributed to your attack.
I live in a low-income housing complex and called the police to report an attack; now my landlord wants to evict me. Do I have recourse?
Yes, you do. Unfortunately, it is common for apartment managers to try to evict tenants who call the police, or who have partners or other individuals in their lives who might become a nuisance to other residents. Under the Violence Against Women Act, however, people experiencing domestic or dating violence while living in public or subsidized housing are legally protected from this kind of discrimination. Not only that, but protected residents who are sexually assaulted or threatened with sexual assault must be provided with a confidential transfer to another unit upon request.
What are some of the losses for which I could receive compensation?
The list of damages which you may be awarded is considerable. They include, but are not limited to, reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, lost future wages, pain and suffering and emotional distress. The costs of sexual assault are considerable and can impact you for the entirety of your life. Your sexual assault lawyer can help you calculate your losses to ensure you request an appropriate settlement.
Hopefully, the information provided above answers some of your questions. Please, reach out to our sexual assault lawyers in Atlanta at 470-467-2200 to schedule a free consultation. During this meeting we can learn more about the specifics of your experience and provide you with more detailed answers to your concerns.
We Work Hard to Protect Your Future
Contact Our Atlanta Sexual Assault Attorney Today
It can be difficult to think clearly in the moments during or after a sexual assault, for many reasons. Everyone responds to trauma differently, and you may experience shock, denial, or paralyzing fear that continues after the attacker is gone. You might also feel temporarily numb or apathetic.
Without a doubt, coming forward after a sexual assault takes incredible courage and strength. The team at The Stoddard Firm is well aware of the difficulty surrounding your decision to hold those whose negligent behaviors played a role in your attack responsible. We appreciate your bravery and want you to know that we will do everything within our power to help you get a settlement that appropriately compensates you for all that you have lost.
The damages resulting from sexual assault go far beyond the visible; we work tirelessly to help maximize your settlement.
For years we have garnered a reputation for holding individuals and organizations responsible for their behaviors. We will leverage our past experience as well as our knowledge of the law as we pursue your case. At the same time, we will treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve, taking the time to listen carefully to your story and make sure we leave no stone unturned.
We stand ready to help you and are available to begin work on your case immediately. We know time is of the essence. Contact us today at 470-467-2200 to schedule a consultation.
Attorney Matt Stoddard
Matt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]
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