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Can I Sue My Doctor for Inappropriate Touching?
CT Sexual Assault Attorney

Medical malpractice refers to negligent acts committed by a physician in the course of providing patient care. But sometimes a doctor’s actions are not simply negligent, but criminal. Unfortunately, some doctors take advantage of their patient’s vulnerable state to commit battery or sexual assault.

Jailed CT Doctor Ordered to Pay $35K for Traumatizing Patient

Battery is the legal term for the unlawful or unwanted touching of another person. While battery may not result in any visible physical injuries–that would constitute criminal assault under Connecticut law–it can still take a significant emotional toll on the victim. And intentional or negligent infliction of “emotional distress” is considered a legal injury for which a victim may seek compensation.

For example, a Connecticut appeals court recently upheld a $35,000 award to a woman who was inappropriately touched by her doctor. The plaintiff initially sought treatment from the defendant following a [car accident]. According to the plaintiff, on several occasions unrelated to any medical care the defendant “inappropriately” touched her “buttocks and breasts.” In court the plaintiff testified she was “traumatized” by these incidents, which were “unwanted sexual advances.”

As it turns out, the plaintiff was not the only victim of this particular defendant, Dr. Edwin Njoku. In 2013, based on the testimony of another former patient, a Hartford jury convicted Njoku of fourth-degree sexual assault. He is presently serving a five-year prison sentence. His medical license was also revoked. The victim in the criminal case, together with at least two other women, have also filed separate civil lawsuits against Njoku, according to the Journal Inquirer.

Civil vs. Criminal Liability

One thing to keep in mind is that civil and criminal trials operate according to different standards of proof. In a criminal case the prosecutor must prove a defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In contrast, a plaintiff in a civil case must only demonstrate a defendant’s liability by a “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning it is more likely than not that the defendant committed the alleged act.

In other words, just because a defendant is not criminally charged with, or convicted of, assault or battery, that does not prevent individuals victims from seeking damages in a personal injury lawsuit. In many cases a civil suit is the only way a victim can seek justice, particularly when prosecutors feel they lack sufficient evidence to convict.

This is why if you have suffered any kind of personal injury in Connecticut or Rhode Island, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. Contact the offices of Polito & Associates LLC today if you would like to schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified personal injury lawyers right away.

 

1www.politolaw.com/practice-areas/medical-malpractice/

2articles.courant.com/2013-08-01/community/hc-njoku-sex-assault-verdict-0802-20130801_1_mixed-verdict-assault-woman

3www.journalinquirer.com/crime_and_courts/court-upholds-judgment-against-ex-doctor/article_8ffea052-d750-11e6-b458-e76226002d23.html