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Can I Sue My Doctor for Sexual Misconduct?

In short— yes, if you were sexually assaulted by your doctor, you can sue in civil court under New York law. We trust our doctors to protect us and treat us with respect and professionalism, but the reality is that healthcare providers are human beings and are capable of committing acts of abuse.

At Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin& Hellman, our New York doctor sexual abuse lawyers advocate for abuse survivors. We will hold the individuals who harmed them and any other party who enabled the abuse accountable, and we will pursue full damages for clients harmed by physicians in New York.

Defining Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct refers to a non-consensual sexual relationship, and actions that constitute sexual assault include:

  • Unwanted touching or fondling
  • Refusal to provide a dressing gown
  • Nonconsensual photographs
  • Unnecessary physical exams
  • Bargaining sexual favors for treatment, medication, or money
  • Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, including oral
  • Penetration of the victim’s body (rape) and attempted rape
  • Being asked inappropriate questions about a patient’s sexual history
  • Overmedication to make it easier to commit sexual assault
  • Sexual acts performed on a patient during sedation

If you want to know if what you experienced constitutes unlawful sexual assault, our New York sexual abuse lawyers can help. We will review the facts of your situation and recommend legal remedies to hold an abusive doctor accountable. It’s also important to seek help for the physical and emotional impact of sexual abuse, and our team can provide resources to assist you.

Call 212-684-1880 or complete our contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation with our sexual abuse and assault lawyers.

If you believe your doctor abused you, you have several avenues to seek justice.

  1. Contact the police: Report the sexual assault to the police. Depending on the nature of the misconduct and the law, the offender can possibly be criminally charged and prosecuted. If you’re in immediate danger, call 911.
  2. Report the doctor: Notify the hospital or practice where the sexual assault took place. Include details about what transpired including the time and date of the assault, the name of the physician, and a description of what occurred.
  3. File a complaint: Report the provider to the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC.)   You can find the complaint form online. Once you’ve completed the form, mail to the address listed at the top. Do not send original documents with your complaint.
  4. Contact a Sex Abuse Attorney: Even if the police do not arrest your physician, you can still file a civil lawsuit.  No one should be deterred from pursuing justice, even if the offender is a well-known physician. Patients have rights.

What Is the Difference Between Criminal and Civil Sexual Abuse Claim

It’s helpful to know how criminal and civil claims differ to understand the potential outcomes of your case.

Criminal Sexual Misconduct

Criminal law applies when someone (the defendant) commits an offense that is punishable by law). They are arrested and charged with a crime. The government is required to prove the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If found guilty, penalties may include fines, probation, and jail time.

Civil Sexual Misconduct Claims

In the civil system, one person (the plaintiff) files a lawsuit against another person or entity (the defendant) because of a dispute between them. If the defendant loses their case, they must pay money to the plaintiff, but they will not go to jail for the civil case.

In civil court, the standard of proof required to win a case is lower. Plaintiffs only have to prove the violation occurred based on a “preponderance of the evidence.” It is possible for a criminal charge and a civil case to occur simultaneously for the same event, such as in the case of Darius Paduch. However, a defendant does not have to be convicted for you to pursue a civil case against them.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Doctor Sexual Assault?

You can bring a claim against the doctor who assaulted you. If it can be shown that the practice or hospital that employed your doctor knew or should have known about their questionable behavior toward patients and looked the other way, that institution may also be foud liable. Facilities that employ and enable abusive healthcare providers endanger patients and should be stopped.

Ongoing litigation against physician Darius Paduch is a recent example of taking action against a physician and their employer sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Dr. Paduch is a New York City urologist alleged to have assaulted thousands of patients of all ages. Rheingold Guiffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman are available to represent victims of Dr. Paduch and other healthcare providers who use their position of authority to victimize patients.

Doctor Sexual Assault Settlements

Most doctors and medical institutions want to resolve sexual assault claims as quietly as possibly to avoid the negative attention. For this reason, it’s possible to settle sexual misconduct claims without going to court.

A settlement is a voluntary, legally-binding agreement between two parties outside of court. Settlements can happen before the plaintiff takes legal action, or after a lawsuit is filed. Not only do settlements help victims obtain justice without the time and stress of court proceedings, but they also offer anonymity for sexual assault survivors.

In some cases, both parties cannot agree to a settlement. When a settlement is not possible, the plaintiff and their attorneys bring a civil action against the abuser and present their case in court. If you win your case, you may be entitled to compensation for physical and emotional pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost income if the abuse impacted your employment. Punitive damages are also possible in cases of extremely heinous or harmful acts.

Schedule a Free & Confidential Consultation With Attorneys Who Care

Every patient deserves to feel safe and protected when seeking medical care. Abusive doctors and their employers cause trauma and create distrust in our medical system. New York doctor sexual abuse lawyers at Rheingold Guiffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman have over 150 years of combined experience providing individualized legal representation to abuse survivors across New York. We know the law and we can help.

Call 212-684-1880 or inquire confidentially online to schedule a free case consultation today.