Can You Sue Someone for Assault?

Yes. You can sue someone for assault.

Who Can I Sue for Assault?

Anyone who perpetrated or contributed to your assault might be liable. This can include:

  • The actual perpetrator
  • The business owner (such as a bar or restaurant) if the assault resulted from negligent security or negligent hiring)

It is important to note that assault and battery are two different things. Assault is the threat of physical harm while battery is actual physical contact against someone’s will. You can sue the above parties for both.

What Do I Need to Do to Sue Someone for Assault or Battery?

To hold another person liable for threatening you or intentionally causing you injury, that person must have owed you a legal duty. When it comes to the actual perpetrator, this is not difficult to figure out. The rules of our society prohibit us from threatening or physically harming another person except where it might be necessary to do so, such as in self-defense.

In other cases, establishing a “duty” is not so clear. Sometimes third parties, such as business owners, may owe a duty to prevent others from threatening or harming you. For example, if a business owner does not hire security for his bar, he can be liable if a fight breaks out and patrons suffer injuries.

One of the aspects of a successful assault lawsuit is a thorough review of all potential parties who may have contributed to an assault. My team and I will look into your assault and determine any parties that might have played a part in your assault.

We must also prove the breach of duty was the proximate cause of your damages. Proximate cause essentially means that but for someone’s acts or omissions, you would not have suffered injury. For example, if the bar owner had hired security, the perpetrator would likely not have been able to beat you up.

Once we have established a liable party(s) and proved causation, we must establish you suffered damages. Damages include both out-of-pocket expenses and intangible injuries such as pain and suffering that lawyers work with victims to calculate to arrive at an amount that fully and fairly compensates them. How much you can recover depends on what the assault cost you.

The Burden of Proof in an Assault Case

The burden of proving that an assault was foreseeable or that the business could have intervened is on the victim. There are certain regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that may provide specific rules concerning a business’s standard of care. In the absence of published rules, regulations, or guidelines, however, it will be the victim’s responsibility to establish what the business could and should have done differently. 

Establishing a standard of care and the fact that a business’s conduct was substandard sometimes requires testimony from an expert witness. An expert witness can help provide evidence that reasonable safety measures could have prevented the conduct that caused the injuries or otherwise minimized the risk of injuries to the victim.

Causation of damages is another area where expert testimony might help a victim’s case. If a business owner claims that injury would have resulted even if it had done what the victim claims it could have done, the business owner may not be responsible for the injuries. However, if an expert witness is able to dispute that claim, you may still be eligible to recover compensation.

How to Sue for Assault

The first step in a lawsuit for assault is to determine who is responsible. The direct perpetrator may or may not have faced criminal prosecution for the same incident. Regardless of whether a criminal court found the perpetrator guilty, you may still pursue a civil lawsuit.

In addition to the perpetrator, there may be other parties responsible. Business owners may be liable for your injuries if the assault and battery was foreseeable and if the business owner could have made reasonable efforts to prevent what happened to you.

Even if the assault was not preventable, businesses must take certain steps to intervene during commission of a crime to mitigate harm if possible. Insurance companies for these businesses put up a big fight when it comes to the responsibilities of these business owners. A skilled attorney can help you hold business owners responsible if they could have reasonably prevented an assault or otherwise minimized harm.

At S. Burke Law, our team knows how insurance companies work. In fact, I used to work for an insurance company before dedicating my practice to pursuing the rights of victims.

What Kinds of Assault Can I Sue For?

Some of the common types of assault and/or battery are sexual assault, simple assault, simply battery, or aggravated battery.

In cases of proving a third-party business owner, the following are some examples of businesses that might be responsible for your injuries for failing to provide reasonable security measures or remove potentially dangerous people:

  • Hospitals or long-term care facilities (whether an employee or another patient committed the assault)
  • Municipalities that operate public transportation (whether on a bus or train or at a terminal)
  • Landlords or condominium owners
  • Restaurant or bar owner (for acts of unruly patrons who should have been removed, unlawful force used by a bouncer, or negligent security)
  • Shopping or retail center
  • Hotel/motel operators
  • Colleges or universities
  • Employers (negligent hiring, supervision or retention that leads to co-worker violence)

Depending on the circumstances, business owners may owe their guests a duty to protect guests both from those who lawfully enter the premises as well as from those who unlawfully enter.

Make sure you understand who may be responsible for your injuries by discussing your case with a qualified attorney.

Get Justice for Your Assault. Call S. Burke Law Today.

As you can see, proving responsibility in assault and battery cases requires significant experience and knowledge of criminal and civil law. To discuss your case with an Atlanta assault attorney, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 today. Your consultation will cost nothing and provides valuable information to you as you move forward.