Assault and Battery Statistics
- Assault and Battery Definition and Laws
- Negligence in Assault and Battery Cases
- Injuries from Assault and Battery
- Procedure After An Assault And Battery
- Value Of An Assault And Battery Claim
- Example Settlements And Verdicts
- Assault And Battery Lawsuit Compensation
- Statute Of Limitations On Assault And Battery Cases
Many instances of assault and battery are not reported to police or tried in civil court. The victims often want to simply move on and not rag out a lengthy legal process that may cost them a lot of money and time, or they may simply not feel the fight is worth it. Others, though, are too fearful of retaliation or revenge and do not take any steps to get compensation or punish the perpetrator. Of the assault and battery cases that are reported, though, the numbers can be quite intimidating. 3 in 1,000 people are assaulted each year, but given the lack of reporting, that number is likely higher. For example, there were around 104,000 cases of aggravated assault in California in 2017; these cases are more dangerous than simple assault cases. However, simple assault is reported to the police less than 20% of the time when compared to aggravated assault. This means that victims may generally only go to the police if they feel appropriately harmed or if the assault were particularly egregious. Aggravated assault is most often carried out by knife, with 33% of cases involving a blade of some kind. Nearly a quarter at 23% involve a firearm; around 11% occur by hand. There may be different charges that can be filed depending on t he weapon used, if any. Between 50 and 60% of assault and battery cases were brought on people the victim knew, such as friends, family, and acquaintances. This number is shocking for most, as it indicates that you are most likely to be injured by someone you know, whether from an argument or a misunderstanding, to a heated exchange or premeditated harm. Assault cases have dropped over the years, though, even though there is still a fair amount that happen beyond or outside of the public eye or law enforcement’s gaze. Simple assault is reported about 17% less of the time, while aggravated assault has decreased by 25%. This certainly gives credence to the notion that we are living in the safest recorded times.
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Assault and Battery Definition and LawsAssault is defined as an attempt to harm another individual, or the threat to use force. The victim must have been aware that a reasonable person would have conceivably believed that the threat was actual, and that the perpetrator had the capability to inflict harm or apply force to the victim. Perhaps the most important aspect of assault cases is that there is no necessity of physical force; that is, you can file for damages from assault if you weren’t hit or harmed. Verbal assault exists, and it can result in emotional or psychological damage. Battery is the actual follow-through of the physical force. It involves any strike, blow, or harm inflicted by the perpetrator. The amount of force or the level of harm does not have to be particularly significant in order for you to sue for battery. Aggravated assault is a felony act that involves an assault committed with a weapon, or with the intention of committing a serious crime. Aggravated assault can usually precede or include rape, vicious beatings, robberies, and more. Sexual assault generally falls under this subcategory of aggravated assault, as it does not have its own specific law, but it does have specific definitions and punishments. There are ways in which a person can defend against claims of assault and battery. The most common is with consent; for example, if the parties consented to the likelihood of physical damage, such as in a boxing bout, there is no case for a lawsuit. There is also the possibility of self-defense, or defending another person or your property from harm. The stipulation, though, is that the amount of force applied cannot be unreasonable or excessive. Some charges carry more severe penalties than others. Assault and battery of a police officer, assault of a minor, armed robbery, and more can all carry extremely harsh penalties and are generally expressly prohibited to the extent that most defenses do not succeed.
Negligence in Assault and Battery CasesIf you wish to file an assault and battery claim, you must prove that the responsible party was negligent in his actions or inaction. The important note about negligence is that it does not only have to be one singular person it can be numerous people or even entities. Therefore, if you were hurt at an establishment, you could potentially take action and hold the business responsible. There are four points of negligence that must be proven if you follow through with a lawsuit. They are as follows:
- You were owed a duty of care by the responsible party
- The duty of care was breached in some manner
- The breach of duty led to an incident
- The incident led to actual physical injuries
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Injuries from Assault and BatteryThe amount of injuries that you can receive from assault and battery cases is extensive. There are many ways that an individual can harm you, especially if he is using a weapon of some kind. You should always do your utmost to protect yourself and escape from harm if possible, but if not, you should try to minimize damage. The perpetrator may aim to hurt you so severely that you are left hospitalized for some time. We have seen injuries such as:
- Closed head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal organ damages
- Gunshot wounds
- Stab wounds
- Bruises and cuts
- Brain damage
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Knee injuries
Procedure After An Assault And BatteryAfter an assault, you should make sure to gather all the necessary evidence you need to take appropriate legal action against the responsible party. You can follow these steps to ensure that you have all the proof you need, or you can contact a lawyer to walk you through the process. Of course, it can be confusing and troublesome to worry about evidence for a legal case if you were seriously injured and hurt by someone else. However, as long as you have focus and intent, you will have all your necessary proof gathered together. The very first step you should take involves medical help. You should call paramedics, go to the emergency room, schedule a doctor’s visit, or go to a healthcare facility to get treated for your damages. You should not wait too long, since some damages can worsen over time, or some injuries may not appear at once to the naked eye and could cause additional problems. A professional can examine you and determine your treatment. Further, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that you will have trouble filing a lawsuit. The insurance agent responsible for the claim could say that the gap in time between the incident and the treatment was too large, and that you were likely injured elsewhere. He will try to instill doubt as to the circumstances of your injuries and the extent of them. If you were able to avoid the doctor for some time, the injuries must not have been as bad as you claimed. This is why it is important to go to the doctor: you preserve your health and you preserve the integrity of your case.
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You should keep any medical notes, receipts, bills, or proof of treatment from the doctors to show that you did get medical help and that you had expenses that need to be paid off. Next, you should take photographs of your injuries and the damages you suffered. Any pictures of your harm will come in handy; they can be taken immediately after the incident, while at the hospital, or in the days following to show the progression. If possible, you can write down the contact information of the individual who hurt you. You may not be able to get this information from the perpetrator, but someone else may nknow him or an establishment may be able to divulge his details. If there were any eyewitnesses or bystanders who saw the event, you can request their statements and testimonies. They can attest to who was instigating, who threw the first blow, if the perpetrator had acted aggressively before, and more. Eyewitness testimony is important, as your claim may be left with only the plaintiff and the defendant present – turning into simply one story against another. If you were at an establishment or near a place of business, there could have been security camera that captured the incident on tape. You can ask the owner for copies of this footage to add to your claim. However, it may be hard to acquire the footage if the business could potentially be held liable. They may refuse to give you any tapes to protect themselves; it is not wise for them to hand you evidence of their liability, for example. The police may have been called to the scene of the incident. They could make an arrest or simply conduct an investigation. You should hold on to this police report or request a copy form the precinct after it has been filed. You may also wish to file a charge after the incident, which you should hold on to as well. If the defendant were arrested, it will be important to show that, as it indicates that the police found good enough reason to remove him from the scene. Lastly, it is very important that you contact as killed assault and battery lawyer to help with your case. You may not know the first thing about intentional torts or personal injury law, and if you try to wrestle a settlement out of the insurance company representing the perpetrator, you may not make any leeway or even come close to presenting your side. An attorney can write the demand letter for you and submit the claim to the insurance agent, who will then take a few weeks to read over it and consider if he wants to offer a settlement. A lawyer will be able to negotiate a fair deal for you, and you won’t have to worry about any legal legwork or proceedings.
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Value Of An Assault And Battery ClaimThe value of an assault and battery lawsuit is not static. You may not be able to receive certain damages if the circumstances of your case prevent it, or you may be able to receive much more than what you requested. The value of your claim will depend on how the insurance agent weighs your damages and the negligence involved. For example, if your injuries were extensive and severe to the degree that they prevented you from working for a period of time (or forever) and required you to undergo numerous surgeries and treatments, your case may be worth a fair amount of money. Small damages that quickly heal and lead to no loss of lifestyle or change, such as sprained ankles and simple cuts, may not get much in the form of compensation. The insurance agent will also consider comparative negligence. If you can be held accountable, the offer will decrease. Keep in mind that the insurance agent will try to claim that you were fully responsible for the attack or that you were exaggerating the extent of your injuries and do not need to get paid for anything. These tactics are common, so you should be prepared to handle them. There is no special calculator that allows you to type in your injuries and get a result spit back out. Further, an attorney cannot tell you exactly how much your claim is worth, given that there will be a lot of negotiation involved in the case. You may not even be offered an amount similar to another case’s.
Example Settlements And VerdictsTo illustrate this point regarding value and worth of a case, we have provided numerous cases below to show the results. You may have similar circumstances to a case, but there could be many factors that determine why your offer is so different. You can look at these cases as examples of what can possibly be earned, as well as to understand what juries may look for when deciding who is negligent and who is not.
Bagwells v. FunksIn Gregory R. Bagwell and Linda Bagwell v. John William Funk and Mia Funk, two men got into an altercation, resulting in strikes. The incident began when Mr. Bagwell drove his vehicle around Ms. Funk while both were waiting in a reversible lane that could be used by both directions of traffic. Ms. Funk contended that Mr. Bagwell drove negligent and placed her and her daughters at risk, and she followed him to his parking spot to confront him. After the confrontation, Ms. Funk called her husband, who entered the coffee shop in which the Bagwells were eating; he also confronted Mr. Bagwell, culminating in striking him on the temple, causing him to fall to the ground and get injured. The case is filled with disputing stories. For example, Ms. Funk claimed that Mr. Bagwell ran a stop sign in the parking lot, got in her face and yelled at her, and then proceeded to shove Mr. Funk when he arrived at the shop. Conversely, Mr. Bagwell said that he was not aggressive in any manner and that he drove according to all traffic rules. Two witnesses were used to corroborate the claims. Although both claimed that Mr. Bagwell did not appear to act aggressively, both were determined to not be 100% certain in their statements due to distance in one case and the time frame in the other (the witness did not see the start of the altercation). After Mr. Bagwell was struck, he went to the emergency room and claimed hairline fractures in his back and a concussion, as well as double vision and sustained back pain in the aftermath. The defense countered that he had previously made complaints about back pain and the injuries were already present; counsel also stated that the injuries he expressed were either false or exaggerated due to the fact that he and Mrs. Bagwell continued to participate in hobbies, go on vacation, and more. The jury declared that the Funks were both at fault, with Ms. Funk being apportioned 30%. The total recovered by the Bagwells was over $265,000.
Rodgriguez v. Players Bar Inc. and UgarteIn Mark Rodriguez v. Players Bar Inc. and Elmer Ugarte, a bar patron was assaulted after being escorted from the premises. Rodriguez was taken out of the bar by Ugarte; the reason was not known. On the way outside, Rodriguez flipped Ugarte’s hat off his head, which triggered Ugarte to start beating Rodriguez. There were multiple blows to the victim’s head, resulting in contusions and other marks; he also suffered an ear injury that resolved but left him with lingering symptoms of tinnitus. Ugarte was a former U.S. military veteran who was diagnosed with PTSD. The plaintiff’s counsel stated that hiring Ugarte with knowledge of the condition placed patrons in danger, given that PTSD episodes can appear at various triggering situations. The bar was accused of negligent hire, but refuted that, saying that it is illegal for employers to ask questions about PTSD, and regardless, Ugarte did not have a history of physical altercations related to his condition. The plaintiff’s counsel claimed that Ugarte was also improperly trained, but the bar said that, according to the law, only uniformed guards must undergo proper training – bouncers and such security figures do not have to. The jury found that both Ugarte and the bar were negligent and contributed to the injuries that Rodriguez suffered. It awarded punitive damages to Rodriguez due to the fact that Ugarte’s behavior was not addressed by counseling, training, or discipline, thus letting it be condoned. Rodriguez recovered $175,000 for his injuries.
Grant v. Coco, Russell, and CarrilloIn Elena Grant v. County of Orange, Olivia Coco, Stacia Russell, Terra Carrillo, and Tara Carrillo, a jailed woman was beaten after being arrested. Grant was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. When she went to the police station, she was interviewed and read her rights and what to expect. While there, three female officers allegedly beat her, pushed her, elbowed her, and dragged her by the hair. She said that they made racial remarks concerning her accent and immigration and deportation. The plaintiff’s counsel stated that the actions of the deputies were excessive and intended to physically harm or inflict emotional stress. The defending counsel pointed out the issue of having no expert witnesses and disputed the nature of Grant’s injuries. Grant pursued punitive damages for the incident, but ultimately, the jury deemed the deputies to not have acted negligently or with excessive force.
Simonelli v. County of Monterey and RobertsIn Antonio C. Simonelli v. County of Monterey and Andre L. Roberts, an attorney sued due to being attacked by a bailiff. Simonelli had been escorted out of a courtroom by a bailiff, Roberts. Simonelli stated that Roberts punched him in the chest upon removing him, and that a few months later, he placed a hand on his chest while telling him not to speak with a court reporter. The incidents left Roberts filled with fear and emotional distress, leading him to file a claim against Roberts and the county for negligence. There were no experts for either counsel, and all witnesses contradicted Simonelli’s claim that he was struck with excessive force. He did not suffer any physical harm by his own admission, nor did he suffer any lost income. His counsel requested in excess of $1 million, but the jury found that Roberts did not use excessive force and did not batter Simonelli.
ConclusionPhysical injuries should be present when filing an assault and battery case if you wish to pursue very large sums of money. In the absence of physical harm, it can be extremely difficult to win emotional damages. Many attorneys will try to use other factors to explain assault or to illustrate why an establishment was negligent but the jury may determine that those reasons are irrelevant or did not contribute to the incident.
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Assault And Battery Lawsuit CompensationVictims of assault and battery cases should be appropriately compensated for their injuries. You should not be expected to pay off numerous debts and bills if you were not able for your own injuries. The responsible party or parties should pay off your debts for you if they were the cause of your harm. You can potentially earn the following types of restitution if you win your lawsuit:
- Medical expenses from the past and future to over surgery costs, hospitalization fees, medication fees, physical therapy sessions, wheelchair costs, restructuring of home and vehicle to accommodate disabilities, and the cost of future treatments or procedures if you were seriously injured
- Lost income from your job if you could not make it to work due to the injuries you suffered, as well as lost future wages if you cannot return to work until you fully heal or because you have to go to medical treatment
- Property damage for any personal items you owned that were lost or broken in the incident; most commonly, victims lose their cell phones and laptops, or their clothing is damaged
- Pain and suffering damages, which include coverage for psychiatric suffering, mental trauma, fear, anxiety, PTSD, and more
- Wrongful death damages in some cases, which can be handed out if a family member or loved one dies and leaves behind funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical bills and pain and suffering, and more; you can also sue for loss of consortium, loss of relations, loss of expected savings and inheritance, and other damages
- Punitive damages, which are additional forms of monetary compensation that are meant to punish the defendant and prevent him from acting the same way in the future and are only awarded in times of gross negligence or an intent to cause harm; these are handed out in lieu of jail time in civil cases and are difficult to win because judges and juries view them as excessive (however, assault includes the intent to harm, so there is a better chance in assault and battery lawsuits than in some other types of cases)
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