Most cases of assault are handled by criminal courts, through trials, fines, and jail sentences. And while that may serve to punish the person who committed the assault, it doesn’t always address the needs of the victim. That is left to the civil courts.
Yes, assault victims can sue for money. But how much can they get?
In personal injury cases, damages are awarded to the injured party in an effort to make them whole or come as close as possible to returning them to where they were before the injury. In fact, damages are an essential element to proving an injury claim — without proving damages (and that those damages were caused by the defendant), the case would fail.
Injury damages in any case will be determined based on the circumstances of each case, and only to the extent that specific injuries can be tied to the defendant’s actions. In terms of an assault, there will probably be the obvious medical expenses involved, and calculating how much you had to pay in hospital visits or doctor’s bills should be straightforward.
But there could be additional damages that aren’t so clear. You could have future medical expenses as well. There could also be a loss of consortium, loss of services, or additional pain and suffering or mental anguish. And, of course, the lost wages and income due to being injured.
As noted above, the specific amount you could recover in an assault case will depend on your specific circumstances and injuries. You may want to consult our damages estimate worksheet to get an idea of your damages.
Some things to keep in mind when estimating your damages:
- Some states have damages caps, which limit the amount that can be recovered in certain cases;
- A victim may have a duty to “mitigate damages,” meaning he or she should take reasonable steps to minimize the effects and loss related to his or her injuries; and
- Workers’ comp may cover some or all of your damages if you’re assaulted at work.
Damages calculations can be complicated and proving damages in an assault case isn’t always easy. For help with your damages claim, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
- Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Economic Recovery for Accidents and Injuries (FindLaw)
- How Do You Prove Assault in Civil Court? (FindLaw’s Injured)
- Assault and Battery (FindLaw’s Injured)