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Can Assault Victims Sue for Money?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on December 09, 2015 11:58 AM

Assault is a crime. And if you've been the victim of an assault, hopefully law enforcement officials were able to identify and prosecute the perpetrator. But a criminal conviction might not be enough to compensate you for an assault.

If you've been injured in an assault, you may have medical bills and lost wages -- who's going to pay for that? Can you sue for damages sustained in an assault?

Offensive Contact in Court

Fortunately, you can sue someone for beating you up. Even if there were no criminal charges filed, you may still be able to sue if you're injured in a fight. In order to prove an assault in court, you have to demonstrate two main elements of the offense:

  • An act that was intended to cause apprehension of harmful or offensive contact; and
  • That the act indeed caused apprehension in the victim that harmful or offensive contact would occur.

While you don't need to prove that an offensive contact actually occurred, an act more than just threatening words must occur. And in most cases, you must prove that you suffered some actual injury -- physical, psychological, or monetary -- in order to recover damages, although courts may sometimes choose to award damages as a form of punishment.

Whom Can You Sue?

While you can sue the person(s) who assaulted you, they may not have the money to cover your damages (especially if they go to jail for the assault), and they may not be the only ones liable for your injuries.

You may also be able to sue the location where the assault took place, especially if it was in a bar. There are special statutes, known as dram shop laws, which can hold drinking establishments liable for the actions of their patrons, if those patrons were over served. You may also have a claim against the person's employer, if the assault happened at or as part of their job.

Injury lawsuits can be complicated, especially if they involve an assault. If you've been injured in an assault, you may want to contact an experienced injury attorney near you.

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