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How to sue someone for assault

Updated March 23, 2017

When someone is assaulted, whether by a stranger, friend, family member, romantic partner or business associate, there is a feeling of violation and also possible medical expenses that result. Whether or not criminal assault charges are being pressed against the person who hit or otherwise physically struck out against you, you can still sue the perpetrator in a civil court of law. Depending on how serious the case is, you can do it yourself in small claims court or secure the services of a personal injury attorney to sue the assailant in a higher civil court.

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  1. Determine what to seek from the assailant. If you want an apology, no lawsuit or even criminal case can compel that result. If you want to receive compensation for your pain and suffering, lost wages and any medical bills, then a civil lawsuit is probably the only way to try to secure these kinds of reparations.

  2. Gather any witnesses and records. You will need to do this even if you get an attorney. You know better than anyone else what persons saw the assault and who treated you for medical or other needs after the assault. Your lawyer can best help you if you provide him as much information as possible. If you have a police report or restraining order against the assailant, you have a much stronger case. Be sure to obtain any proof of lost wages or medical bills.

  3. Consider taking your perpetrator to small claims court, especially if you are seeking a few thousand dollars to compensate for your troubles. Usually you do not need a personal injury lawyer for a small-claims case. This may be ideal for minor assaults and when you are fairly certain the assailant has few assets to repay you with, i.e. being awarded a large award from a bigger civil court will not help you if the person can't ever pay it. The assailant could simply file bankruptcy to avoid the financial consequences of a major lawsuit.

  4. Fill out small-claims papers thoroughly and honestly. You will be asked to write a brief statement of what happened that led you to sue this person. Small-claims papers are easy to fill out, brief and come with instructions. You will usually need just the name and an address of the person you are suing. A sheriff's deputy usually will serve small-claims papers to the defendant. Most filings cost under £32.

  5. Attend all court hearings expected of you, whether you are suing the perpetrator yourself or have an attorney. Make sure any witnesses, including police and bystanders, know when the court dates are. If you choose to secure a personal injury lawyer and sue your assailant in a higher civil court, court employees will make sure your witnesses are ordered to appear in court on your behalf.

  6. Tip

    Hiring a personal injury lawyer is also helpful in major assaults and civil lawsuit cases because they can negotiate settlements so that you may never even need to go to court.

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About the Author

Stephanie Mojica has been a journalist since 1997 and currently works as a full-time reporter at the daily newspaper "The Advocate-Messenger" in Kentucky. Her articles have also appeared in newspapers such as "The Philadelphia Inquirer" and "The Virginian-Pilot," as well as several online publications. She holds a bachelor's degree from Athabasca University.

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