Who Can File a Claim Against
a Doctor for Sexual Assault or Abuse?

Filing a sexual abuse lawsuit against a doctor or healthcare provider can
not only help the victim recover financial compensation

Los Angeles, California Doctor Sexual Assault & Abuse Lawyers

The Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors requires each and every one to swear to uphold specific ethical standards – namely to, First, do no harm.” Doctors are typically considered some of the most respected and admired professionals, often developing lasting bonds with patients.

Los Angeles California Doctor Sexual Assault & Abuse Lawyers

Doctor Sexual Assault & Abuse Lawyers

Unfortunately, some doctors not only violate one of the main tenets of the Hippocratic Oath, they use their positions of authority to commit unspeakable sex crimes. If you’ve been harmed by a doctor through sexual abuse, assault, or misconduct, you may wish to file a civil claim to recover due financial compensation.

Below we will look at how common doctor sexual abuse is, review what steps should be taken by survivors after an incident, and provide information on how to file a legal claim.

How Common is Doctor Sexual Assault and Misconduct?

A 2019 report published on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website noted that, “The true extent of sexual abuse of patients by physicians in the U.S. health care system is unknown.” However, by analyzing varying types of reports to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), some troubling findings were inferred.

In determining statistical estimates, the NPDB reports looked at:

  • Adverse disciplinary actions taken by state medical boards
  • Peer-review sanctions by institutions
  • Malpractice payments

The following statistics on U.S. doctor sexual abuse or misconduct were confirmed:

  • 2017 exploratory analysis of 101 cases of physician sexual abuse of patients found that the primary forms of abuse in these cases were:

    • Inappropriate touching (33%)
    • Sodomy (31%)
    • Rape (16%)
    • Child molestation (14%)
    • Purportedly consensual sex (7%)
  • 2016 analysis of data from the U.S. NPDB showed that from January 2003 through September 2013, 862 physicians had state licensing disciplinary actions because of sexual misconduct, totaling 974 such actions.
  • The U.S. rate of such disciplinary actions was approximately 9.5 per 10,000 physicians per 10 years.

What are Examples of Doctor Sexual Assault, Abuse, or Misconduct?

What are Examples of Doctor Sexual Assault, Abuse, or Misconduct?

The type of abuse committed by a doctor can vary significantly on a case-by-case basis. Some common examples of inappropriate behavior or actions on the part of doctors that may rise to the level of abuse or misconduct under the law include:

  • Taking advantage of a patient while sedated, under anesthesia, or while otherwise unable to give consent
  • Making inappropriate sexual advances
  • Making inappropriate jokes or remarks (often of a sexual nature)
  • Taking photographs or videos of a patient without consent (often with a personal device)
  • Touching or examining a patient inappropriately
  • Performing medically unnecessary examinations (often of private areas)
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As Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) partner organization, RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), notes, exams of private areas of one’s body are often needed to maintain optimal health. However, such exams should be limited to steps that are absolutely necessary.

RAINN outlines things that are normal and abnormal during a physical exam of your body’s private parts (such as a breast, pelvic, vaginal, rectal, or testes exam):

It’s okay for the examiner to:

  • Explain each part of the exam to you before and while it is happening
  • Use gloves
  • Encourage you to tell them if something feels wrong or uncomfortable
  • Is the same sex as you, if you have asked
  • Only ask you to undress the part of your body being examined

It’s NOT okay for the examiner to:

  • Refuse to answer your questions or tell you to be quiet
  • Examine private parts without gloves
  • Refuse to tell you what they are doing or why they are doing it
  • Decline to have another person in the room with you
  • Insist that you undress parts of your body they are not examining
  • Ask you questions about your sexual activity that make you uncomfortable

Unfortunately, countless doctor sexual abuse scandals have made headlines in recent years. Some examples of high-profile doctor or trainer sexual abuse cases include:

As we noted in a recent blog, a Los Angeles Times’ investigation from December 2021 revealed that numerous California doctors accused of and even arrested for sexual abuse were often reinstated by the state’s Medical Board.

Some of the local doctors profiled in the investigation included:

Dr. Esmail Nadjmabadi: Medical Board records indicate that the Bakersfield internist sexually abused a female patient on the pretext of a colon cancer screening. The Medical Board of California accused Nadjmabadi of then persuading a female staff member to lie to police about being in the room. Subsequently, the doctor reported the female patient and her husband – both undocumented immigrants from Mexico – to immigration officials in an effort to make them “unavailable” to investigators, according to Medical Board records.

Dr. Zachary Cosgrove: The Bakersfield family practitioner reportedly slept with three female patients. When they reported his misconduct to authorities, the L.A. Times investigation indicated Cosgrove turned violent. According to the Times, he “kicked and punched one, threw furniture at another and told the third, ‘You’d better just kill yourself… That’s going to hurt less than what I’m going to do to you.'”

Dr. Hari M. Reddy: The Victorville family practitioner inappropriately touched two teenage patients during exams and harassed one at home after hours, according to Medical Board records.

Dr. Shahab “Sean” Ataee: The former Fountain Valley physician was convicted of sexual abuse in 2001 in New York for “groping the daughter of a patient in an intensive care unit,” according to the Times. In uncovering records from the California Medical Board, the Times discovered that Ataee “fondled the woman’s breasts and attempted to shove his hands down her pants.”

Who Can File a Claim Against a Doctor for Sexual Assault or Abuse?

Who Can File a Claim Against a Doctor for Sexual Assault or Abuse?

Filing a sexual abuse lawsuit against a doctor or healthcare provider can not only help the victim recover financial compensation, but it can also help ensure that the bad actor does not harm another patient.

Examples of parties that may be eligible to file a doctor sexual abuse civil lawsuit include:

  • The survivor of the sexual abuse or assault
  • The survivor’s family members
  • A parent or guardian of a minor who was sexually abused by a doctor
  • A spouse of a survivor
  • A witness to the abuse

What Should I Do If I've Been Sexually Assaulted or Abused by a Doctor?

The NIH story referenced above cited numerous factors for why physician sexual abuse of patients continues to be a persistent problem in the United States. One of the primary factors listed included cases of doctor sexual abuse of patients frequently going unreported.

Reasons for why patients do not report doctor sexual assault or abuse can vary. Some examples include:

  • Patients may be shocked and consumed by feelings of disbelief, guilt, or shame
  • Patients may be fearful that they will not be believed due to the significant power imbalance between them and physicians
  • Patients may be unwilling to publicly disclose the abuse
  • Victims may not know how to navigate the regulatory system to seek redress for the harms of physician sexual abuse (such as filing a complaint with the state medical boards that licensed the physicians)

And, as the NIH report notes, “Even when they file complaints, victims can be further traumatized by the investigation and legal procedures, which may lead them to withdraw their complaints.” The report also indicated that, “physicians often are unwilling to report their impaired or incompetent colleagues to relevant authorities, likely due to the absence of enforceable legal mandates for such reporting.”

If you’ve been sexually assaulted or abused by a doctor, there are a few recommended steps to take:

  • Call 911 to report to your local law enforcement.
  • Contact the hospital, doctor’s office, or facility where you experienced the abuse.
  • Report the abuse to your state’s medical licensing board.

If you reported the abuse and did not get any help, you might want to report to another authority, according to RAINN.

Additionally, if you wish to file a civil lawsuit for financial compensation, you can contact a DLG Los Angeles, California, doctor sexual abuse lawyer today for a free, confidential, and no obligation consultation at 818-322-4056.

How Long Do I Have to File a Doctor Sexual Abuse/Assault Lawsuit?

For adult sexual assault or abuse survivors, the California statute of limitations on sex crimes allows you to file a civil claim up to 10 years after an incident. Additionally, the statute of limitations allows for a three-year window in civil claims where sexual assaults lead to the discovery of a psychological injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Currently, under California AB 218, the statute of limitations is temporarily paused on all childhood sexual abuse claims. Until December 31, 2022, any survivor of child sex abuse is eligible to file a claim seeking financial compensation. However, on January 1, 2023, the statute of limitations will resume, and claims for doctor sexual abuse crimes that occurred outside the filing window will likely be barred from civil legal recourse.

To learn more about your legal options for either an adult or childhood doctor sexual abuse claim, contact a DLG sex crimes lawyer today.

What Compensation or Financial Damages are Recoverable in a Doctor Sexual Abuse Claim?

Doctor sexual assault or abuse civil lawsuits may be brought in an effort to recover financial compensation for various types of losses. Depending on the circumstances of your California physician sexual assault, abuse, or misconduct crime, compensatory damages may be pursued and recovered through a civil claim.

Examples of some common damages that may be secured through a doctor sexual assault or abuse civil claim include:

  • Counseling or therapy expenses
  • Emotional trauma
  • Psychological distress
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Hospital or medical expenses

When you meet with an experienced DLG sex crime lawyer to discuss your doctor abuse claim, we’ll review the facts of your case, provide you with all available legal options, and offer an estimate for how much financial compensation you may be eligible to recover.

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Contact a Los Angeles, California, Doctor Sexual Assault/Abuse Lawyer

Contact a Los Angeles, California, Doctor Sexual Assault/Abuse Lawyer

A doctor or physician sexual assault/abuse civil lawsuit to recover financial compensation can be filed by calling an experienced DLG sex crimes lawyer for a free consultation.

During your free California doctor sexual assault/abuse lawyer consultation, a DLG team member will:

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

  • Review the facts of your case and determine whether negligence was involved
  • Discuss all available legal options for your doctor sexual assault claim
  • Provide an estimate for how long your doctor sexual assault lawsuit might take to settle
  • Provide an estimate for how much your doctor sexual assault lawsuit may be worth

To discuss your doctor sexual assault or abuse civil claim, contact a member of DLG’s SAJE Team today at 818-322-4056. DLG’s sex crime attorneys have helped victims recover more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts while maintaining a 98% success record.

Contact DLG to take the first step towards securing justice for your doctor or healthcare provider sexual assault claim. Our entire team of dedicated processionals is here to serve as your dedicated legal advocates and fight to recover the maximum financial compensation you deserve.

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