Yes, you are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit if someone has assaulted you. We tend to think of assault as a crime that is punishable by law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office in criminal court. However, there is also room in civil courts for this type of case to compensate victims for medical costs, loss of earnings, and emotional injuries. The two are not mutually exclusive, either– you can choose to press charges and seek jail time for the offender and also pursue a personal claim for compensation.
Even if your criminal case fell flat, you may still be awarded damages in civil court, which uses a lower standard of evidence. Rutter Mills’ personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to all victims of assault and battery in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
What is assault and battery in a personal injury lawsuit?
The most successful claims involve serious physical injury, but the law defines assault as “reasonable apprehension of imminent and harmful contact,” and therefore considers a broad stroke of different offenses, such as:
- Threats of imminent harm
- Property damages
- Damage to one’s reputation
- Negligence (the blatant careless disregard for a person’s wellbeing)
The threat and fear of harm are what matters most to an assault charge. Any intentional act that involves actual physical contact is considered “battery.” This intentional harm does not have to cause physical injury, but it must be regarded as “offensive” and “inappropriate” to a reasonable person. Examples might include:
- An angry motorist who intentionally cuts you off or sideswipes you during a road rage incident.
- A stranger walks rapidly toward you with a baseball bat and lunges at you.
- Someone pushes, punches, throws an object, sets a trap, or inappropriately touches you.
Proving Assault and Battery Claims
Assault and battery claims can be challenging to prove in court compared to the usual personal injury claim relying on medical reports. The most critical piece of evidence is typically the police arrest report. It is essential that you report the incident to local authorities as soon as possible. Ideally, there will be witnesses to corroborate various details of your story, if not eyewitnesses, who saw the whole incident unfold.
Sometimes video surveillance can prove valuable, though time is of the essence in securing the footage before it’s taped over. Medical records are still crucial in battery cases, so seeking medical attention is another wise move in the aftermath of an assault. Even if you “feel fine” today, you could require medication, diagnostic imaging, or treatments for delayed physical or psychological injuries.
What Damages Can Be Sought for Assault and Battery?
Compensation for assault and battery may include:
- Medical expenses, including doctor copays, medication, treatment, counseling, hospital stays, surgeries, medication, physical therapy, disability-related renovations, and personal care assistance.
- Lost wages, including salary, benefits, bonuses, sick pay, vacation time – for both past and future.
- Pain and suffering, including emotional anguish, distress, depression, anxiety, PTSD, nightmares, insomnia, excessive fear, and loss of enjoyment in life.
Contact us at Rutter Mills for a free consultation
Contacting a legal advocate is the best way to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of your case. There must be some type of “clear and compelling” evidence and money to gain from the defendant, as no insurance policy covers intentional wrongful acts. Rutter Mills’ personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing until we win.
When you’ve been injured, you’ve got a lot at stake - but so does the insurance company. Walking into the court room with a serious lawyer makes all the difference. Watch our video to learn more about Rutter Mills. Your lawyer matters.
“Nothing makes you feel more vulnerable than being hurt or ill. And nobody likes to ask for help. But when you need it most, we’re at our best. We give our clients the confidence and support they need to know they’ll be taken care of – that they’ll get the best outcome possible, even in the face of a very bad situation.”
– Brother Rutter