Guest Blog: Can I sue my abuser?

What Can I Do If I Was Recently Assaulted And Got Seriously Hurt?

Victims of assault may be left with serious injuries involving broken bones, lacerations, head injury, and emotional trauma. It is important that victims understand their options when taking legal action against the offender for causing harm. You may be entitled to receiving financial compensation for injuries, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and more. The best thing you can do to help yourself recover both physically and financially is by getting the legal assistance you need during this time, as you may have both criminal and personal injury claims.

What is considered assault and battery?

Assault is when someone attempts or threatens to harm another person where the victim is concerned of imminent bodily injury. Battery is when someone makes actual contact with another person in an offensive and hurtful manner. Assault and battery are categorized as intentional torts, meaning that they are the result of intentional acts on behalf of another party. Due to these being torts, victims of assault or battery may have the foundation for filing a civil lawsuit.

Each state has its own laws pertaining to criminal statutes, so the offender may be held accountable in civil and criminal court for their actions. Conduct that a state categorizes as assault and battery can vary slightly, so by meeting with an attorney in your area you can get clarification on laws that pertain to your situation specifically.

What elements are needed for a person to be charged with assault and battery?

If you are the victim of an assault and/or battery situation, then there are elements you will need to prove in order to win your case. As your attorney may explain to you, the requirements for prosecuting someone on the criminal level for assault and battery may be different from what is needed in a civil case. Your attorney can talk with you about your local jurisdiction criminal and civil statutes before moving forward to officially file a case against the offending person. 

In general, the elements needed for an assault charge in civil court are listed as follows:

  • There had to have been a threat or attempt of harm which was intentional by the offending party. Someone saying they are going to harm you isn’t sufficient to constitute assault. However, if they follow up that statement with an action that makes you feel reasonably in danger, then it is considered assault. 
  • The threat of harm must be obvious, meaning that the threat was possible in that moment. For example, someone calling on the phone from hundreds of miles away probably won’t constitute assault. But, if they are on your doorstep saying they are going to get into a physical altercation with you, then that is considered obvious and possible threat of harm. 
  • The victim must have been in reasonable fear or apprehension that they would endure bodily harm. 

The elements for a battery case include:

  • There was offensive or harmful intentional acts committed
  • These acts resulted in physical force to another
  • The victim did not provide permission or consent to the actions

As the lawyers at Cohen & Cohen can attest, it’s extremely important that you reach out to a lawyer if you have faced an assault.

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