It’s difficult to estimate the compensation an assault and battery victim can earn because each has a unique set of circumstances. Certain factors can lead to increased levels of support for victims including the totals for medical expenses and lost wages at work, and the amount of emotional trauma experienced.
How Much Can You Sue for Assault?
Suspects charged with assault or battery will face a criminal trial, but victims may also seek damages in a separate civil case.
A victim or family member can sue for criminal charges and seek to recover financial support for the victim’s physical, financial, and emotional recovery. This civil claim could move forward no matter the status of the criminal proceedings, even if a suspect is found not guilty of criminal charges.
How Much Is Your Settlement Worth?
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Claims are directed against suspects, but you may find the guilty party does not have a lot of assets or insurance coverage to provide financial assistance. You could still be stuck paying for your hospital bills and trying to meet your monthly bills without being able to earn a paycheck.
A skilled California personal injury attorney should seek to secure compensation from all parties responsible for your assault. This could include the owners of a bar or restaurant held liable for not providing adequate security. Some businesses carry “assault and battery” insurance coverage intended to help victims.
Your case could involve a store or business that didn’t provide certain safeguards for your wellbeing such as proper lighting in a parking lot to deter would-be criminals.
These businesses and even homeowners who invite you onto their property must be held accountable for keeping you safe from harm. They may be held responsible for helping with your recovery when they neglect this duty.
Common Settlement Amounts for Physical Assault Cases
Several factors influence how much you should receive in an assault and battery civil case.
A good rule of thumb is the longer it takes for your wounds to heal and the more an injury affects your normal routine, the more compensation you should receive. Of course, some wounds are permanent, and that can greatly affect how much you and your family are awarded.
These are just some of the components of an injury settlement that affect your financial support totals:
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- The severity of injuries.
- Length of recovery.
- Permanent disabilities or disfigurements.
- Wages lost while healing.
- Potential lost future earnings.
- Loss of consortium.
- Insurance limits on the coverage that is available.
Punitive Damages in California Assault Cases
The egregious nature of the neglect by an individual or business that allowed you to get hurt can lead to an award of punitive damages. If an entity can be shown to have acted extremely recklessly with disregard to the safety of customers or visitors, these damages may be granted.
Punitive damages are intended to enforce extra punishment on guilty parties for their negligent behavior. These damages are meant to hurt guilty parties financially as an added incentive for them and others to avoid behaving so irresponsibly again. Punitive damages are not awarded to offer the victim more support for damages, but victims do take home more damages if punitive damages are levied.
Assault and Battery Charges in California
Assault and Battery are often tied together, but California considers them as two separate offenses.
Offenders are subject to California’s legal definitions of assault and battery according to the penal code:
- Penal Code 240 PC: “An assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”
- Penal Code 242 PC: “A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”
A simple way to differentiate between the two is to think of assault as the attempt or threat to inflict harm and battery is the actual use of force on someone.
Assault doesn’t have to involve physical touch. The battery does involve contact but does not have to involve pain or an injury. A battery suspect may be charged even if the force used involved a light touch that was considered offensive. This could include spitting on someone.
First-degree aggravated assault often involves the use of a deadly weapon. First-degree battery often involves the guilty party using a deadly weapon to inflict a severe injury.
A suspect can be charged with both assault and battery. The assault charge might be over a threat made and the battery charge could stem from following through on the threat.
A victim suffering physical or emotional trauma from an assault or battery can file a claim for damages against the perpetrator and hope to recover monetary support for every hardship they’ve faced.
Compensation for Assault and Battery Victims in California
With injury claims, it’s vital for victims to list every damage they’ve endured during their recovery and every hardship they could end up facing in the years to come.
An experienced California personal injury lawyer knows how to itemize every factor that could earn you and your family sufficient compensation to begin rebuilding your lives.
These are just a few of the losses you may receive compensation for in an insurance settlement or a courtroom judgment:
- Hospital bills and funds for any healthcare expected to be necessary for the future.
- Paramedic and ambulance fees.
- Costs of medication.
- Physical pain and emotional anguish.
- Lost wages at work and any additional time expected to be missed in the future.
- Travel expenses for medical care and consultations with out-of-area specialists.
- Emotional distress.
Proving Liability in a California Battery Case
Proving battery in a civil case requires far less proof than a criminal case would require. In civil cases, victims must only prove that it was more likely than not that the battery occurred. This is sufficient in order to show the defendant was liable for the injuries caused and owes the victim compensation.
The victim’s personal injury lawyer will focus on several key factors:
- The defendant made contact intending to harm or offend the victim.
- The victim did not consent to the contact.
- The victim was harmed or offended by the contact.
- A reasonable person would have been offended by the contact.
- A property owner or business may not have physically harmed you but shared responsibility for allowing the attack.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney After an Assault or Battery?
An assault usually requires a threat of battery with some sort of attempt to follow through on the threat. Words may not be enough. A personal injury case could be filed against a guilty party, but generally, if there’s not any real physical damage, the compensation awarded would likely be small. An attorney may not be able to improve your outcome.
When a battery has occurred and a serious injury has been inflicted, the consequences immediately ramp up. A case builds in value when extended medical care is needed and when the victims miss weeks or months of paychecks while out of work. The potential emotional trauma a physical attack can leave behind also increases the amount of any potential award.
With more financial support needed, insurance companies and the defendant’s lawyers will put up more of a fight. It’s important to have your own legal counsel making sure your injuries aren’t marginalized. Without an attorney safeguarding your claim, you could receive far less than what your injuries are worth. You may also miss out on receiving compensation for certain hardships that you didn’t know to ask for.
Victims are often left with far less support than they’ll need to make a full recovery. Having a lawyer with experience in California personal injury law is the best way to make sure you aren’t left to pay for your own injuries out of your own savings.
When a corporation or other business also shares some of the blame for the attack that left you injured, you’ll need a personal injury lawyer with experience in dealing with corporate lawyers. Big businesses often have a team of lawyers on standby, all charged with seeing that you receive as little in compensation as possible.
Contact a Steers Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one are injured due to the negligent or intentional act of someone else, don’t leave your recovery and your financial wellbeing to chance.
You should consult a legal expert as soon as possible. Waiting gives an assault and battery suspect and anyone else involved more time to arrange for a legal defense. That delay also makes it harder for your attorney to collect fresh evidence and keep track of witnesses who may be vital to proving your case.
If you are in Los Angeles or anywhere across Southern California, contact the Law Offices of Steers & Associates for a free consultation on your case. You are welcome to ask us any questions regarding your assault and battery case. It is essential to have a complete understanding of your legal options so that you can make a full physical and financial recovery.
Allen Vaysberg practices personal injury law and works tirelessly to defeat the tactics of insurance companies and large corporations who try to deny justice and fair compensation to injured people.