Understanding Assault Cases: What You Need to Know
Injuring someone through assault is both a crime and a tort that may lead to both criminal and civil prosecution. Depending on the types of assault cases, penalties may vary.
When a victim is injured in an attack or assault, they can file a civil lawsuit for damages. If you or a loved one has experienced an assault, you may be entitled to receive compensation for the damages you’ve sustained because of the attack.
Read on to find out the types of assault cases, how to file for a claim, and the kinds of compensation available.
What is an Assault?
Assault includes any intentional act or willful attempt to cause fear, imminent physical harm, or offensive contact to another person.
Even if the act causes no physical injury (e.g. someone spitting on another person may not physically injure them, but it is still considered offensive contact sufficient for battery), any dangerous threat inflicted on the person is classified as such.
Physical attacks can also cause severe emotional anguish and distress. It’s not uncommon for a victim of a physical attack to suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Statistics have shown approximately 30% of assault victims suffer from PTSD and require some type of therapy.
Common Types of Assault
In most states, the different types of assault cases vary depending on the intent of the offender. Below are some types of assault that are often reported.
Any form of sexual violence constitutes sexual assault cases, such as sexual harassment, unwanted touching, and rape.
Verbal assault involves an intentional verbal threat that instills fear and puts another person’s safety at risk, even without subjecting them to a physical attack.
A verbal assault can be in the form of a death threat with a detailed plan communicated verbally or through electronic means.
Simple assault involves threatening or scaring another person into believing they are going to be physically harmed. These cases often don’t require actual bodily injury to be considered so, even an attempt may be deemed a simple assault.
Aggravated assault is committed by one person against another with the intention of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. Assaults of this type usually involve the use of a weapon or means likely to cause death or serious injury.
Difference Between Assault, Battery, and Aggravated Assault
Battery and assault cases are two separate crimes. Battery refers to physical activity resulting in harmful contact.
While both are actual crimes of physical violence, not all types of assault cases lead to physical harm. Under civil law, the victim doesn’t need to be physically harmed to classify it as an assault case, as long as inappropriate or offensive contact takes place.
Meanwhile, an aggravated assault results in serious bodily harm. It occurs when a deadly weapon is involved in the conflict or someone threatens to commit a felony.
Civil Vs. Criminal Assault Cases
A criminal case is more serious and involves the state, whereas a civil case involves the victim and is initiated when the defendant in a criminal case is injured.
What Must Be Proven in a Civil Assault Case?
To prove that an assault happened, the victim and their legal team must prove intent and liability. The guilty party must have intentionally harmed the other person through an act of assault. In civil court, assault is an intentional tort.
To prove a defendant’s guilt in a civil assault case, a judge or jury must find one of two things:
- The defendant made the victim feel that the assault was going to happen
- The defendant carried out the assault
How to Prove a Criminal Assault Case?
It must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant inflicted severe or aggravated bodily injury accompanied by the use of a weapon with intent to harm or kill the other person.
Elements of Assault
Not all attacks are classified as assault. Here are three elements that must be present to constitute assault:
An assault requires intent or deliberate and unjustified interference that causes harm to another person. The act should be purposely committed to establish that an offense occurred.
Apprehension of Harmful Contact
The victim must have a reasonable apprehension of offensive contact or imminent injury. Moreover, the victim should be aware that he or she was the subject of bodily harm. No assault has occurred if the victim was unaware, even if the other person points a gun at him while sleeping.
There should be a causal connection between the aggravated behavior and the act of causing bodily harm to the victim itself. In aggravated assault cases, the jury must prove that the defendant’s conduct correlates to the end result or the injury itself.
What Kind of Compensation Can Victims Expect?
Depending on the type of assault, the prosecutor may charge a misdemeanor or felony. Offenders for these crimes may face jail time or substantial fines. As the victim of assault, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you’ve suffered as a result of an attack.
By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you can ask for financial compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Emotional distress
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost income from taking time off work
- Property damage
How to File a Personal Injury Claim for Assault
If you’ve been assaulted, here’s how to file a personal injury claim to receive proper compensation for your injuries:
Seek Medical Assistance
Once you’re safe, you should seek proper treatment for any injuries you sustained after the attack.
It’s important to take care of your health first and foremost, but going to the doctor is also crucial because any documentation that you receive from your treatment can be used to bolster your personal injury case.
Similar to any other personal injury case, taking pictures or videos and obtaining any relevant evidence for your case is crucial to support your claim.
Make sure you have photos, witness statements, or video footage showing the nature and severity of the assault.
Report the Incident to Your Local Law Enforcement Agency
You may opt to file your assault case with your local police and coordinate with the investigation by handing over the evidence you’ve collected, and see if your witnesses are willing to speak to them.
However, your local district attorney will be the one to decide whether the person who assaulted you will face criminal charges.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Following a devastating injury caused by an unprovoked physical attack, it’s best to talk to a skilled assault injury attorney at Adamson Ahdoot. Hiring a criminal defense attorney is essential, so they can build a strong case on your behalf.
Seek Legal Representation at Adamson Ahdoot
At Adamson Ahdoot, we work tirelessly to help our clients get the compensation they need to move forward with their lives after an assault.
Call us at (800) 310-1606 today to schedule your free consultation with a premier injury attorney.
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