Have you recently been assaulted by another person? Did you sustain injuries in the attack? If so, you may be entitled to recover monetary compensation. In California, victims of assault have the right to file a personal injury claim for damages to hold their attacker responsible.
Call the experienced Los Angeles assault injury attorneys at Citywide Law Group to request a free consultation. We will review your case, explain your rights as a victim in California, and outline the process of filing a claim for damages. The money you get from a personal injury claim can be incredibly important to your recovery, so do not hesitate to contact us today.
What is Civil Assault?
What is assault? In California, any attempt or threat to physically harm another person is considered an assault. Your attacker does not necessarily have to make physical contact with you or physically harm you in any way. When you are assaulted, your right to “live without being put in fear of personal harm” is violated. This violation is the grounds for a personal injury claim for damages.
In order to successfully recover damages from a personal injury claim after an assault you will be required to prove each of the following elements:
- When the defendant acted, they intended to cause harmful or offensive contact;
- You reasonably believed that you were about to be touched in a harmful or offensive manner;
- You did not consent to this contact;
- You were harmed in some way; and
- The assaulting behavior was a substantial factor in causing your harm.
Harmful or Offensive Contact
In order to be assaulted, you must be afraid that you are about to be touched in a harmful or offensive way. Harmful contact is anything that would cause you to be injured. Offensive contact is considered to be anything that “offends your personal sense of dignity.”
Whether or not contact is considered offensive is a very subjective issue. Contact that is offensive to one person may be very offensive to another person.
Reasonable Belief of Imminent Contact
Assault requires that you are afraid that you are about to be touched in some way. You must be able to prove that you believed that contact would be made immediately and/or your attacker had the present ability to touch you.
Whether or not your fear was reasonable is subjective. If your case reaches trial, a jury will be required to determine if your apprehension was reasonable.
How is Civil Assault Different from Criminal Assault?
Assault is defined similarly for both civil and criminal matters. Any attempt or threat to make harmful or offensive contact with another person will be classified as an assault. Anyone who commits an assault in California can face both criminal and civil charges.
The way each of these cases unfolds will be different. The main reason for this is that the burden of proof in criminal cases is much higher than the burden of proof in civil cases.
When a person is facing criminal charges for assault, the state must be able to prove that person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is an incredibly high burden of proof. When you are pursuing a civil lawsuit for damages caused by an assault, you only have to prove your attacker’s guilt by a preponderance of the evidence.
You can prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence by simply proving that your allegations are more likely true than not. In other words, at least 51% of your evidence point to the defendant’s guilt.
What Damages Can an Assault Victim Recover?
Victims of assault are at risk of suffering from debilitating physical, psychological, and/or emotional trauma. These injuries can require extensive counseling, rehabilitation, and psychological treatments.
In some cases, an assault victim can be so severely traumatized by an assault that their lives are changed forever. These victims have the right to be financially compensated for the harms caused by an assault. This financial compensation is awarded in the form of economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages basically put the victim back in the financial situation they would have been in had the assault never happened. Victims can receive an award of economic damages to make up for any financial losses and out-of-pocket expenses they incur, including:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medication
- Counseling and treatment programs
- Lost wages, and
- Reduced earning capacity.
Non-economic damages help to compensate a victim of assault for the intimate and devastating trauma caused by an attack. These harms may not necessarily have a direct financial cost, but still cause the victim to suffer in a very real way. Non-economic damages can be awarded to compensate for:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Depression, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
When Can I File a Civil Assault Lawsuit?
As a victim of an assault, you have the right to file a civil lawsuit against your attacker. In order to recover the compensation you need and deserve, you must file your legal claim within the timeframe set by the statute of limitations. Injuries and harms sustained because of an assault are considered to be personal injuries. In California, personal injury victims have two years from the date of their injury-causing incident to file a claim for damages.
There may be times when you do not discover your injury until after the statute of limitations has expired. If there was a reasonable delay in your discovery of the harm, or if you did not immediately understand the link between your assault and the harm, you may be able to file a claim outside of the traditional timeframe.
You can help to ensure that all of your legal claims are filed on time by calling an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately after your assault.
Speak with a Los Angeles Assault Injury Attorney at Citywide Law Group Today
Have you been harmed because of a recent assault? Call the Los Angeles assault injury attorneys at Citywide Law Group to learn about the benefits of filing a personal injury claim for damages. The money you recover from a personal injury claim can help to pay for medicine, counseling, and treatment that may be necessary for dealing with your trauma.
For more than 17 years, our experienced personal injury attorneys have been dedicated to helping injured victims just like you recover meaningful compensation for their injuries. We are confident that we can help you recover the compensation you deserve, as well. Call us today to set up a free consultation and learn more about your legal options.