Representing Victims of Sexual Assault Serving Montana Since 1985

Montana Sexual Assault Lawyers

Defending the Rights of Victims of Rape, Molestation & Sex Abuse

At Hoyt & Blewett PLLC, we believe in sticking up for people who have been hurt by others. It is our mission to leave our clients better off than when they first called, to the tune of a fair settlement or verdict, safety from further harm, and justice for victims.

If you are a victim of rape, molestation, or sexual abuse, reach out to our attorneys to discuss your legal options and let us fight for justice on your behalf. Call (406) 233-1302 today to speak to a sex assault attorney in Montana.

What Are My Legal Options After Being Sexually Abused?

If you were molested or sexually abused, you have legal options you can take to hold your assailant accountable. As a victim of sexual assault, molestation, or rape you may be able to bring civil claims against the person who harmed you, and you may also be able to recover civil damages in your case, including:

Compensatory Damages

These are intended to give you everything you need to make a complete recovery. In cases of rape, molestation, sex abuse, and sexual assault, this often includes services like mental healthcare, counseling, and therapy.

These are often awarded in addition to typical damages like hospital bills and lost wages due to the particularly distressing nature of sexual crimes. Victims of rape, molestation, sexual abuse and sexual assault are also entitled to recover damages for the physical and emotional pain and suffering they undergo.

Punitive Damages

Juries render verdicts for punitive damages to punish and deter. These are awarded to victims who have been harmed because of a defendant’s “actual malice”. This can include defendants who act deliberately or defendants who have knowledge of certain facts and act in a manner that creates a high probability of injury.

In recent years, the United States Supreme Court has imposed caps on punitive damages arguing that punitive damage awards which grossly exceed the amount of compensatory damages could potentially run afoul of the defendant’s due process rights.

In Seltzer vs. Morton, a malicious prosecution case handled by Hoyt and Blewett PLLC, the Montana Supreme Court upheld a $9.9 million punitive damage award against the global law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP. In Seltzer, the punitive damage to compensatory damage ratio was 9:1. The Montana legislature has attempted to impose a statutory cap on punitive damages which limits punitive damage verdicts to $10 million or 3% of the defendant’s net worth, whichever is less. See MCA §27-1-220(3). Several Montana state district courts have recently held that this statute violates Montana’s state constitution.

Insurance Coverage in Rape, Molestation, and Sexual Assault Cases

Most defendants who molest victims or commit sexual crimes like rape or sexual assault do not have the resources to pay civil judgments. In order for victims to make a recovery, it is imperative to assert claims that trigger insurance coverage.

Obtaining insurance coverage in rape, molestation, and sexual assault cases can be a complicated matter. Most insurance policies do not cover intentional acts. This means that in order to obtain insurance coverage for injuries, it is necessary for the victim to allege that either the assailant or some other person or entity acted negligently.

In some instances, intentional acts of an assailant may also be accompanied by negligent acts. For instance, the assailant may have intended the act, but not the consequence of the act. In many cases, defendants deny that they intentionally committed the sexual assault which alone pushes the issue of negligence and creates a basis for establishing insurance coverage under an assailant’s homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance policy.

Victims may also be able to assert negligence claims against third parties for negligently failing to protect the victim from danger or for negligently hiring, training, and supervising the assailant.

Filing Claims for Childhood Sexual Abuse in Montana

Few crimes are as damaging to a person’s psyche and well-being as child sexual abuse, especially when it is committed by a trusted mentor or teacher. Because it can take many decades for victims of childhood sexual abuse to understand and process what happened to them, activists have long been pushing to increase the statute of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits.

After multiple sex abuse scandals involving prominent organizations like the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church in recent years, however, many states have passed sweeping legislation to allow victims more time to come forward – and hold their abusers accountable. Starting on May 7, 2019, the Montana legislature opened up a 1-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse over the age of 27 who wished to bring lawsuits for previously-expired claims. The legislature also extended the statute of limitations to allow any childhood sex abuse victim in Montana to file a claim any time before they reach the age of 27 years old. Under Montana law, “childhood sex abuse” includes anyone who was sexually abused prior to their 18th birthday.

At Hoyt & Blewett PLLC, our attorneys can help you file an institutional sex abuse lawsuit against any of the following:

  • Religious organizations and clergy members
  • Summer camps for children
  • Public and private schools
  • Juvenile rehabilitation programs
  • Universities and colleges
  • Recreational youth camps
  • Athletic clubs and memberships
  • Youth sports leagues

Because the statute of limitations for previously-expired claims closes on May 7, 2020, it’s imperative that you contact one of our Montana child abuse lawyers today if you have reason to believe that you or a loved one endured abuse. After the deadline passes, it will be impossible for victims of childhood sex abuse who are over the age of 27 to seek compensation and justice for these claims in the future unless the victim can prove that they discovered the cause of their injuries within three years.

To discuss your child sexual abuse case with an experienced attorney, contact us at (406) 233-1302 or message us online right away.

Challenges of Sexual Assault Claims Against Educational Institutions & Employers

Under present Montana law, victims who suffer sexual assault and sex abuse in the work place or at school face significant procedural hurdles to obtaining justice and holding their perpetrators liable for the damages they cause.

The Great Falls Tribune recently published an in-depth front-page exposé detailing allegations of sexual assault made by students against a massage instructor at the Montana Academy of Salons in Great Falls, Montana, that were part of a case handled by Hoyt and Blewett attorney, Anders Blewett.

As reported by the Great Falls Tribune, Blewett has called on the Montana legislature to increase protections for victims of sexual assault and enact reforms that allow victims to obtain a jury trial in front of an elected district judge.

Get the Right Lawyer on Your Side

Hoyt & Blewett PLLC represents victims of sexual assault, molestation, sexual abuse, and rape. We know that without legal representation, many victims of such crimes have no way to fight back, hold predators accountable, and stop those assailants from continuing to harm others. This is why we are committed to working tirelessly to obtain justice for victims. We are committed to resolving your case, punishing the person who has harmed you, and protecting your privacy, dignity, and humanity throughout the process. If you need representation but are worried about the cost of hiring an attorney, don’t worry — you don’t pay us unless we win.

Contact us today to schedule your free initial confidential consultation.

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