You were attacked by a random coworker, assaulted by an ex, or beaten up by an angry individual. If you are like most people after these incidents, you will call the cops and file a criminal complaint so the person responsible will be arrested. This is the criminal side of the law, and it is most definitely important to ensure people who are responsible for an assault get the criminal charges they deserve. However, as the victim, seeing that person charged with a crime does little to help your situations. You're probably left with distress and anguish, lost wages, and even doctor's bills. So, you can usually file a personal injury claim after an assault. Here's what you need to know.
You may have to wait until criminal charges are complete.
In some states, you cannot file a personal injury claim against a defendant who is in the middle of a criminal case associated with the same incident. Therefore, you may have to wait until the defendant has already when through the court process and has been formally charged with a crime before you can file a personal injury claim. This is pretty logical when you think about how much easier it is to prove a liability if the responsible party has already been proven guilty.
You may only be able to file a claim if the defendant was charged with battery.
Assault and battery are two highly different things in the eyes of the law. According to AllLaw.com:
An assault takes place when one person acts intentionally in a way that causes another person to reasonably apprehend (or fear) an immediate harmful or offensive contact.
Battery, on the other hand, means offensive or harmful contact. Therefore, you could say assault may not always be substantial enough to file a personal injury claim, but most often, assault and battery occur together and that is enough.
You shouldn't assume a criminal assault charge automatically means you can claim personal injury.
You may have called the cops, and maybe you were indeed left with some kind of injury. However, a criminal charge of assault, or even battery, will not always mean you can file a personal injury claim. Just as with any other personal injury claim, there has to be sufficient evidence that you were personally injured, as well as significant damage to your physical or emotional state. There are some situations when this does not apply in spite of a criminal charge.
To learn more, contact a criminal and personal injury attorney.