Can You Sue Someone for Punching You?
Posted in Personal Injury on July 23, 2018
There are plenty of circumstances that can lead to fights. If you’re involved in one, there’s a chance you may be on the receiving end of a punch, which could lead to potential health complications depending on the severity of the attack. And when that happens, you may just want to file a lawsuit to get compensation for your injuries so speak with a skilled Bakersfield personal injury lawyer to learn more.
Civil and Criminal Charges
Two potential charges can fall on aggressors following a fight: civil and criminal. Criminal charges can involve fines and imprisonment if the court determines that party is guilty of assault or battery. Assault involves an intentional attempt to harm another person, regardless of whether the harm occurred or not. Battery refers to any intentional hits the victim suffered.
Further categories of assault, abuse, and harassment can involve:
- Domestic violence, for incidents between couples, former couples, and close familial relations
- Elderly or dependent assault, for when the victim is over the age of 65 or is between the ages of 18 and 64 and is incapable of caring for him or herself due to disability
- Civil harassment, for parties who do not have a romantic or familial relationship
- Workplace violence, for cases of assault, battery, or threat of violence in the workplace
Even if the court does not deem the aggressor guilty of criminal charges, it does not mean you as the victim cannot press for civil charges. The court will handle the criminal case and your personal injury lawsuit separately.
In some cases, you may be able to sue third parties related to the incident. Premises liability and negligence in selecting employees may enable you to sue the location of your injury if an employee’s actions led to the fight.
When Can You Not Sue?
Despite it being possible to sue another party who has punched you, not all cases involve the other individual as the aggressor. If you instigated a fight and the other person retaliated in self-defense, you would have a hard time proving that the other party was responsible for your injuries. In fact, such a situation would likely take away your eligibility for a claim.
Self-defense only applies when the defense is a reasonable response to perceived or threatened harm. The aggressor must, through words or actions, make the victim believe he or she is in appropriate harm for self-defense to apply. The defense must also not exceed the perceived threat level – repeatedly hitting someone for one threatening comment would not be appropriate.
Should You Sue?
Even when you are not the aggressor in a fight and you have evidence to prove it, a lawsuit may not be worth it. Awarded damages in such cases are proportionate to the amount of physical harm and financial loss as a result as an injury. A lack of evidence of who caused your injuries in a group fight can also lead to complications in proving liability. Not having any damages related to your incident such as medical bills or lost income due to work will likely end with the dismissal of your suit.
Assault lawsuits with minimal awarded damages may also not be worth the resulting court and attorney fees. And even in cases with high damage awards, there’s a chance that the guilty party may not have the money to pay your compensation.
If another person has punched you, there’s every chance that you may be able to file a lawsuit. However, many factors contribute to the success of such a lawsuit and the resulting level of compensation. If you’re considering pursuing a lawsuit for injuries sustained in a fight, contact the attorneys of Rodriguez & Associates for a free consultation. Our lawyers can advise you on the potential success of your case and help you with the necessary steps if you decide to move forward with your claim.