What You Need To Know Before Suing For Assault
If you were involved in a fight and suffered injuries due to another person's aggression, then you may be considering suing the attacker for assault. While there are many individuals who do win assault cases, it's important to know that many others who are attacked have their cases dismissed -- or are told by their attorneys that they don't even have a case at all. So, to save yourself some time, hassle, and anguish, review these factors before you decide to bring a possible assault case to your personal injury lawyer.
Your civil case will have no bearing on criminal charges.
Has your attacker been criminally charged with a crime such as assault and battery or assault with a deadly weapon? It's important to note that this case, in which they are tried in front of a judge and/or jury, is completely separate from the civil suit you're considering filing. In the criminal case, the judge/jury will decide whether or not there's enough evidence to prove that the assailant is guilty of a crime -- and what fines or jail time they must serve as a consequence. In your civil case, you'll be requesting monetary compensation for the injuries the assailant caused you. Your civil trial will not result in jail time or government fines issued to the assailant -- and whether or not you win your civil case will have no bearing on the results of the criminal case.
So, before you go about filing a civil case against your assailant, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. If your goal is to "punish" the assailant or send them to jail, you may want to reconsider. If your goal is to obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, or other damages suffered because of the harm the assailant caused you, then you're headed in the right direction.
You need to have suffered damages as a result of the attack.
When you sue someone, you are asking for money to cover damages. In the case of assault, these damages may be medical bills you were forced to pay or wages you lost due to injuries. If there were no damages, you can't really sue the assailant. It's a shame that they attacked you, but if you were not really injured, you don't have a civil case.
For instance, if someone punched you in the face, you suffered some minor bruising, but you were able to return to work the next day after holding some ice against your face for a while, you probably don't have the best case. On the other hand, if you spent the night in the hospital, had three follow-up visits with your doctor, and missed a week of work due to the attack, you may have a case.
The assailant must have intended to cause you physical harm.
In order for your assault case to hold up in court, you and your lawyer must prove that the assailant purposefully acted to hurt you. For instance, if someone punched you in the face using their full strength after you nicely asked if they would let you cut ahead of them in line, this would be considered assault. Statements from witnesses and a doctor's statement as to the severity of the wounds could be used as evidence to prove the assault was intentional.
On the other hand, if someone turned around and accidentally hit you in the head with a box they were holding, this would not be considered assault. While they may have hurt you, it was not their intention to do so.
Suing for assault can be quite laborious and complicated. If you're not sure whether or not you have a good case, your best bet is to contact a personal injury lawyer. After hearing a brief synopsis of what happened to you, they should be able to tell you whether or not you'd be wise to proceed with your case.