Month: November 2012

Can I Sue the Person Who Stabbed Me?

A stabbing can cause severe internal and external injuries and require long-term rehabilitation and medical care. Fortunately, you can sue the person who stabbed you and recover compensation for your physical and emotional injuries.

For help, call the team at Edwards Pottinger LLC: 954-524-2820.

Why Do I Need to Sue My Attacker?

Many people mistakenly believe that criminal courts handle all aspects of a crime — including getting the victim compensation for injuries that resulted.

The truth is that criminal courts are mainly focused on putting violent offenders in jail and keeping them away from potential future victims. Criminal prosecutors are generally unconcerned with helping the victim. Stabbing victims may take the stand during a criminal trial to help convict their attacker of criminal charges, but this does not compensate you for the things your attacker took from you.

To recover tangible, financial damages to help you with your medical bills, you will have to file suit in civil court. The defendant’s guilt or innocence in criminal court has nothing to do with your civil suit.

Suing for Assault and Battery Damages in Civil Court

If you have been stabbed, you are likely the victim of two intentional torts: battery and assault. Either or both of these can be the basis of your intentional tort suit.

Assault

To prove that you were assaulted (i.e., the other party threatened you with immediate harm), we will have to present evidence to prove the following elements:

  • The defendant committed an act that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their lives. Words alone are likely not enough, but words combined with other actions or an apparent ability to harm you would likely be sufficient.

  • The defendant had an intent to cause this apprehension.

  • You did not consent to the defendant’s actions.

Unlike with battery, we will not have to prove the defendant’s intent for actual contact. We will only need to show that you experienced a fear of imminent contact and that the perpetrator purposely caused that fear.

Battery

To prove battery (i.e., requires actual physical contact), we will have to establish that:

  • The defendant actually touched you in a harmful or offensive way.

  • You did not consent to the touching.

  • The defendant intended to commit the act of touching.

  • The defendant caused you harm or injury.

Proving battery in criminal court is different in that it requires the prosecutor to show that the attacker intended to create harmful contact. In civil court, all that is necessary is the intent to touch the victim without their consent.

Aggravated Assault and Battery

Because the attacker used a knife or other sharp object in the attack, the charge will likely be aggravated assault or battery. If the stabbing occurred with the intent to commit a serious crime (e.g. rape, murder) or cause serious bodily harm, this may also warrant aggravated charges. This might lead to higher damages in your case.

What If My Stabbing Was Accidental?

You may still sue the person who stabbed you after an accidental stabbing. In such cases, you will likely file your suit based on negligence rather than an intentional tort.

Negligence requires we prove the person who stabbed you breached a duty owed to you and that this breach caused your injuries. For example, if someone stabbed you while running around with a knife, he likely acted negligently. He owed you a duty to act responsibly with the knife; his behavior was a breach of that duty as it was not in line with how a reasonable adult would behave in those circumstances. As a result, he would owe you damages for your injuries.

How Can I Prove My Claim?

Our attorneys will work closely alongside you to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. We will first look to the police report for the facts regarding the case and talk to witnesses at the scene of the incident. We may also seek experts to testify with regards to the causation and impact of your injuries. We will also collect your medical records to gather information about your injuries, prescriptions, treatments, and long-term outlook.

Once we have gathered all our information, we will work to come up with a strategy to prove your assailant’s guilt. In civil court, we will have to prove that the assailant was “more likely than not” responsible for the stabbing. This is referred to as the “preponderance of the evidence” standard.

What Will My Damages Cover?

If we successfully prove that your assailant stabbed you and caused your injury, you will likely recover damages. These damages support you as you recover from your injuries and help compensate you for your pain and suffering. These damages may include:

  • Payment for your medical bills, hospital stays, rehabilitation, and other medical costs

  • Lost wages if you were unable to work during recovery

  • Pain and suffering

  • Mental anguish

  • Development of any mental disorders (e.g., anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder)

  • Household services

  • Loss of future earning capacity

The physical pain and psychological trauma of a stabbing can stay with you for a long time after the incident, whether it was intentional or accidental. The attorneys at Edwards Pottinger LLC know how hard it is to recover from such a traumatic life event. We are here to handle your civil claim so you can focus on getting back on your feet.

For more information, call us at 954-524-2820.