San Jose, CA asked in Criminal Law, Personal Injury, Health Care Law and Medical Malpractice for California

Q: if somebody was admitted to a hospital and woke up being sexually assaulted. what are some legal steps to take?

Somebody (obviously won't name) was in the hospital who was on a few different medications and out of it for awhile, woke up to a male nurse sexually assaulting her. The victim told a different nurse and the director came and took a statement from her. And that was it. The victim then wanted to leave against Dr. advice because obviously felt uncomfortable there. I feel like the hospital could have at least asked her if she felt she needed further assistance on this, like a social worker coming to talk to her or any tests that may have been needed. But no. So she left. She is now awaiting the police to come to her home to take a report. . whats is your advice?

4 Lawyer Answers
William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Medical Malpractice Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Let law enforcement do its job. Cooperate. Contact a Personal Injury attorney.

Patrick William Steinfeld
Patrick William Steinfeld
Answered
  • Coronado, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Hi,

I am so sorry . That sounds horrible. Here's some steps to take.

1) Support the victim as much as you can. She's fragile and needs emotional support.

2) Contact a doctor for testing.

3) Contact Social Services and request a social worker.

4) Document everything including names of the nurse, director, male nurse, staff and anyone else who was present at the time of the sexual assault. Are there any video cameras around? How far was the victims room from the nurses station? Was the victim in a single or double room? Try to recall the names of anyone who may have knowledge or heard about this sexual assault. Who was around after the assault? Who said what. The victim should try to remember everything she observed including that she heard or said. Did anyone make an incriminating statement after the sexual assault?

5) Provide as much information as you can to the investigating officer and follow up with any requested information.

6) Hire a personal injury attorney. All the personal injury lawyers on this forum work on a contingency fee... like real estate agents. They don't get paid until they sell a house. Attorneys don't get paid until we settle a case. Personal injury lawyers advance all costs... so it costs nothing to get started. Consultations with all the attorneys on this forum are free and there is no obligation.

7) Send out a Preservation of Evidence Demand to the hospital so evidence of the sexual assault is not accidentally misplaced or lost.

Time is of the essence.

It's imperative that evidence that supports the victim claim is preserved.

Good luck,

Patrick Steinfeld

Dan Rowan Cortright agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Dan Rowan Cortright
Dan Rowan Cortright
Answered
  • Rohnert Park, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: This is an absolutely awful experience to have suffered. I have experience with this type of case and empathize with the victim. I agree that preserving any evidence of the assault is critical. Memorialize any statements said to the victim by hospital staff, the nurse, director, as well as wow down the victim's experience to preserve her memory of the event asap.

Contact am injury attorney asap, as it is imperative to begin investigation for a civil lawsuit quickly.

Theodore Allan Greene
Theodore Allan Greene
Answered
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: She should plan on meeting with a personal injury attorney who can tell her what her options are outside of all the regulatory actions being taken. She should try to get copies of any of the reports being generated. she should also document everything she can remember including staff names in case they will need to be deposed in the future.

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