I Was Raped. Do I Have A Right to Sue the Rapist?

I was raped.  The police found the rapist and he is in jail.  Can I sue him?

Yes.  Rape is a crime that will result in prison time but it is also what is known as a "tort."  There are many different types of torts, but rape would be the civil tort of battery.  Battery is the unlawful touching of another person. 

The problem with suing rapists is that they may not have money and therefore it will be very difficult to collect the damages you win.  Hopefully, the person who did this to you will be going to prison and therefore will not be earning any real income, but that of course has the practical effect of making it difficult to collect damages from him.

That being said, it makes sense to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer and let him or her help you determine if you have a case that can be pursued.  Depending on the circumstances, there may be other persons who also share responsibility for the rapist’s acts.  In Tennessee you should assume that legal action must be filed against the rapist within one year of the date of the rape unless an experienced lawyer who is aware of all of the facts tells you that you have more time.

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