If you've suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one, an Atlanta injury lawyer can help answer your questions on how to win your personal injury claim in a Georgia personal injury court!
At S. Burke Law we are here to help give answers to these important questions. Our Frequently Asked Question database covers the common questions you may have regarding what to do after a serious accident, how to file a claim in personal injury court, and tips on how to win your personal injury claim. When researching information on the legal process following a serious accident you want legitimate advice from a source you can trust.
When you’ve suffered serious losses and damages from an accident due to the negligence of another you aren’t alone. An Atlanta injury lawyer from our office is always available to answer additional questions not addressed on our page. Contact us for a FREE consultation and get the answers you need to seek compensation for your losses!
- Page 1
What is Considered Battery and Can I Sue if I was a Victim?
Battery is both a crime and a tort (a civil wrong), so you can call the police and file a lawsuit in the civil courts to go after compensation for your losses. People do not tend to use the word “tort” in everyday language, but it just means that someone harmed you through a careless or intentional act and you can sue them in civil court.
You are probably more familiar with the term “assault and battery.” Used in this context, assault is the attempt to harm someone or placing a person in fear of immediate harm, and battery is the actual physical contact.
Types of Criminal Battery in Georgia
Georgia recognizes three types of battery as crimes:
Simple battery is when someone, through an intentional act:
- Causes physical harm to someone else, or
- Makes physical contact of an insulting or provocative nature with someone else
A person commits the crime of battery when he causes substantial physical harm or visible bodily harm to someone else. For purposes of this criminal act, someone other than the victim must be able to perceive the injury. Some examples of substantial or visible harm include:
- Swollen lips or other facial areas
- Swollen body parts (not on the face)
- Blackened eyes
The crime of aggravated battery is when someone intentionally and with malice hurts another person to the extent that the victim loses a body part, is unable to use a body part, or suffers substantial disfigurement of a body part or of the body.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit for a Violent Injury or Attempt to Harm
Georgia law allows people to bring civil lawsuits for damages when someone has intentionally harmed them. The statute, GA Code § 51-1-14 (2017), says:
“Any violent injury or illegal attempt to commit a physical injury upon a
person is a tort for which damages can be recovered.”
If someone committed a battery on you, the law allows you to sue for compensation for your losses.
Damages for the Tort of Battery
The compensation you can go after will depend on the facts of your case, and every situation is unique. A claim for civil battery is a personal injury case, and provides the same damages as for any other personal injury case, which can include:
- Medical expenses, the reasonable cost of treatment you needed because of your injuries. This category can include things like the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, surgery, doctors, x-rays, lab work, other diagnostic procedures, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.
- Lost wages, if you did not get paid your wages, salary, self-employment, or other forms of income because of the injury and recuperation time.
- Rehabilitation center, if you sustained catastrophic injuries, like traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage, that required extensive treatment in a specialized facility.
- Long-term care, if your injuries leave you in need of daily assistance with medical treatments and personal care.
- Diminished earning capacity, if you cannot make as much money after the battery because of the injuries you sustained.
- Disability, if the harm you suffered renders you unable to work to support yourself.
- Pain and suffering, for the physical discomfort and emotional distress of what you experienced.
- Other intangible losses, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, and a spousal claim of loss of consortium.
How to Get Legal Help for a Civil Lawsuit for Battery
Because battery is both a crime and a tort, it is easy to get confused about your remedies. Do not worry. Just give S. Burke Law a call at 404-842-7838. You can talk to us for free and with no obligation.
We handle personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that we only get paid our legal fees when you get compensation. We do not charge upfront legal fees.
Can I Get Compensation for Disfigurement from an Assault?
Yes, you can collect compensation if an assault left you permanently disfigured. If someone intentionally harms you and leaves lasting scars, that person is responsible for the damage. You can sue for your losses, including disfigurement.
Many people mistakenly think that when someone commits a crime, the victim cannot sue the perpetrator for their losses, but that assumption is incorrect. In your personal injury lawsuit, you can seek compensation for your economic and noneconomic damages from the attack.
Who You Can Sue for Disfigurement from an Assault
The person who assaulted you. In addition to facing criminal charges, the person who assaulted you can be responsible for all of the losses you suffer as a result, including disfigurement. Assault is both a crime and a tort. A tort is a legal term for a situation in which you can sue the person who hurt you through their intentional act (like an assault) or carelessness (like a car accident).
When someone hurts us, on purpose or accidentally, the law gives us a remedy to seek compensation for our losses. We do this through the civil courts in personal injury cases, also call tort cases.
Criminal courts handle the criminal charges of assault, but the criminal court’s purpose is to protect the public at large, not to make the harmed individual whole. To get monetary compensation, you need to file a personal injury case in the civil courts.
Additional liable parties. When we meet with you, we will evaluate whether someone else might also be responsible for the harm you suffered. For example, for an assault that happened at a mall, the shopping mall might be liable if they did not provide adequate security to prevent foreseeable crimes.
Also, if the mall hired a private security company, that firm might have some liability. Let’s say that the security company assigned a guard to patrol the parking lots in a security cart. At the time of your assault in the parking lot, the guard was taking a nap instead of making his rounds.
You might be able to sue the security company for negligence. If the mall knew about this problem before your assault but took no action to correct the situation, the mall can be negligent in this regard as well.
Damages You Can Get for an Assault
You can sue for your economic and noneconomic losses from an assault. Economic damages are things that you can readily measure in terms of dollars, like medical bills and lost wages. Noneconomic damages are things that are hard to directly quantify in dollars, like disfigurement and the amount of pain you experienced.
Economic damages. We will establish the amount of these losses by using your medical bills, employer records, and other documents:
- Medical expenses – which can include things like the ambulance, emergency room, doctors, surgeons, diagnostic testing, lab work, imaging tests like x-rays and CAT scans, hospital, prescription drugs, and physical therapy.
- Lost income – to replace the wages, salary, and other income you lost because of the assault, medical treatments, and recuperation.
- Future medical care – if you will need ongoing medical attention because of the injuries from the assault.
- Long-term care – if the attack leaves you in need of daily assistance and medical care.
- Decreased earning capacity – to account for your future anticipated losses if you are unable to earn as much money after the assault.
- Equipment – to pay for things like wheelchairs, home modifications, and an adapted vehicle.
Noneconomic damages. We will use several factors, including the extent of your physical injuries, to calculate a fair amount for your non-economic losses, which can include such things as:
- Pain and suffering – which encompasses the physical pain, emotional distress, and inconvenience you experienced because of the attack.
- Disfigurement – if you sustained permanent scars from the assault. The amount of these damages will depend on factors like the size, appearance, and visibility of your scars. Lasting disfigurement of the face, throat, and hands fall into the category of highly visible scars.
- PTSD – Many victims of violent crime experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can make daily life difficult. It can be hard to maintain employment and personal relationships when suffering from PTSD.
- Loss of enjoyment of life – Depending on the facts of your case and your physical and emotional injuries, you might lose some of your enjoyment of life because of the attack.
- Loss of consortium – Your spouse might have a claim for loss of consortium damages if the assault also damaged your relationship.
What is an Assault Under Georgia Law
Simple assault in Georgia is when someone tries to injure you violently or does something that would make a reasonable person afraid of immediate violent injury. Aggravated assault is when a person assaults someone with the intent to rob, murder or rape; uses a deadly weapon or a dangerous object; or there are any other aggravating circumstances. The term “assault” refers to the attempted violence. “Assault and battery” means that the person did harm you.
How to Get Help for Disfigurement from an Assault
Assault cases can be difficult to understand because the deed is both a crime and a tort, but you do not have to sort through all of that. Just give S. Burke Law a call at 404-842-7838, and we will set up a free consultation to explain your right to compensation and answer your questions. There is no charge for the meeting and no obligation.
What Constitutes Assault?
Per Georgia criminal statute, GA Code § 16-5-20 (2017), the following constitutes assault:
(1) An attempt to “commit a violent injury to the person of another” or
(2) The commission of “act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.”
If someone tries to hurt you or does something on purpose that makes you afraid that the person will hurt you right then, that person has committed the crime of assault. For example, if a person attempts to punch you, that constitutes assault. If someone threatens to hit you while raising their fist, that also constitutes assault.
When Simple Assault Becomes “High and Aggravated”
Georgia law escalates the crime of simple assault from a plain misdemeanor to a misdemeanor of a “high and aggravated nature” if the assault takes place:
- In a public transit vehicle or station
- Between past or present spouses
- Between parents and children
- Between stepparents and stepchildren
- Between foster parents and foster children
- Between people living or formerly living in the same household (but not among siblings)
- When the victim is 65 years or older
- When the victim is a public school system employee who is on school property (including on school buses and at bus stops) or engaged in official duties
- When the victim is pregnant
Corporal punishment by a parent or guardian does not fall under this statute.
The Definition of Aggravated Assault
Georgia law defines aggravated assault, in GA Code § 16-5-21 (2017), as follows:
“(a) A person commits the offense of aggravated assault when he or she assaults:
(1) With intent to murder, to rape, or to rob;
(2) With a deadly weapon or with any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury;
(3) With any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in strangulation; or
(4) A person or persons without legal justification by discharging a firearm from within a motor vehicle toward a person or persons.”
Possible Justification for Simple Assault in an Injury Case
Depending on the facts, sometimes a defendant in an assault case will claim that the assault victim caused the incident by using “opprobrious or abusive language” toward the defendant. It will be up to the judge or jury to decide whether the words justified the assault.
If the defendant attempts to use this tactic, our team will work to prove that you did not provoke your attacker.
How a Criminal Assault Can Also Be a Tort
Our statutes create the right to sue in civil court for damages if you are the victim of an assault. GA Code § 51-1-14 (2017) says that “Any violent injury or illegal attempt to commit a physical injury upon a person is a tort for which damages may be recovered.”
In other words, if someone hurts you or tries to hurt you through violence, that person has committed a tort, which allows you to sue for assault.
Damages for the Tort of Assault
You are entitled to the same types of damages for an assault as you are for any other type of personal injury tort. People often sue their attackers in civil court because while the criminal courts might punish the defendant, the criminal conviction does not result in financial compensation for the victim.
The damages in a civil lawsuit for assault can include:
Medical expenses to treat the injuries that resulted from the assault, e.g., the ambulance, emergency room, doctors, hospital, surgery, diagnostic testing, procedures, prescription drugs, and physical therapy.
Lost wages to replace income that you missed because of the assault, medical treatments, and recuperation time.
Pain and suffering damages compensate you for the physical discomfort, mental distress, and inconvenience of the assault.
Decreased earning capacity if you cannot earn as much money after the assault because of your injuries.
Emotional harm. The trauma of being an assault victim can cause short-term and long-term emotional injury.
Long-term care damages can help to pay for the cost of long-term care if your injuries render you unable to live independently or you need daily medical assistance.
Getting Legal Help if Someone Assaulted You
It can be confusing to try to understand civil statutes about assault. But you do not have to handle your case alone. An Atlanta assault and battery lawyer is standing by ready to help with your case. Just call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 to discuss your case and right to compensation for your injuries. The consultation is free, and there is no obligation. You also pay nothing until we win your case.
Can I sue a security guard?
Yes, if a security guard assaulted you, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the security guard or security company. Security guards are not law enforcement officers. They cannot make physical contact with citizens beyond what is minimally necessary to stop a dangerous situation or a crime in progress. The only exception – which is also made for private citizens who are not security guards – is self-defense.
Thus, if a security guard assaulted you and you suffered damages because of it, you may be able to sue the security guard or the security company that employs him or her. Call us at 404-842-7838 to talk about your case.
Security Company May Be Vicariously Liable
In the vast majority of cases involving assaults by security guards, the victim has a better chance of recovering substantial compensation through a premises liability lawsuit against the security guard's employer. That is because the employer – whether it is a small, medium, or large business – probably has greater financial resources than the security guard.
Security companies, like all empoyers, are vicariously liable for an employee's actions while the employee is engaged in work-related duties. Thus, we must prove the security guard was on the clock and performing job duties when the assault occurred. The security company may also be directly liable for your injuries if it was in some way negligent in hiring or training the security guard.
We will help you negotiate a fair settlement for your damages. There are two likely scenarios in these cases:
- The security company agrees to a monetary settlement outside of court.
- The security company fails to agree to a fair settlement and we file a lawsuit and can represent you at trial.
We will examine your case to help you pursue compensation under any applicable theory of liability and pursue fair compensation. Call 404-842-7838 to discuss your case and how we can help you sue the security company so you get the money you need to pay your bills, make up for lost wages, and account for your pain and suffering.
Note: The security guard may also face criminal charges for the assault, which is separate from a civil case against the security guard or security company. Learn more about civil vs. criminal assault cases.
Call 404-842-7838 for a Free Consultation With the Legal Team at S. Burke Law
The decision to sue another party is not one to be taken lightly. The legal team at S. Burke Law can advise you of all your options, answer your questions, and help you pursue compensation via negotiations with an insurance company or by filing a lawsuit.
The initial consultation is always free, so call today to set up your appointment: 404-842-7838.
Also see our post on suing a bouncer for assault.
Can I Sue a Bouncer for Assault and Get Compensation?
Bouncers and security guards are generally not exempt from assault claims. That means you can sue and possibly win compensation if you are the victim of an assault by a bouncer. In these cases, it is often the bouncer’s employer who will be liable for the bouncer’s actions, and thus your damages.
Intentional Tort vs. Negligence Claims After Assault by Bouncer
There are two kinds of lawsuits you can file after an assault by a bouncer:
- Intentional tort claim. You would file this suit against the bouncer himself or herself. An intentional tort, in contrast to negligence, happens when the alleged act of wrongdoing was committed intentionally. Assaults and other acts of violence constitute intentional torts.
- Negligence-based liability claim. A negligence-based liability claim alleges that you suffered an injury because the defendant’s negligence caused or contributed to your injury. In the case of an assault by a bouncer, you would file a negligence claim against the establishment that employs the bouncer.
S. Burke Law can help you explore liability for the assault and the damages you suffered because of it. We can help you pursue compensation via a claim against the bouncer and/or the bouncer’s employer.
Filing a Negligence Liability Claim Against the Establishment
A negligence claim against the establishment that employs the bouncer alleges that the employer had a duty of care to protect you from a danger, and failed to uphold that duty. For example, that the employer hired a bouncer with a long criminal history of violent crimes. The employer may also be negligent if it encouraged or otherwise allowed bouncers to be rough with patrons.
A negligence claim against the employer may also hold the employer vicariously liable for its employee’s actions, even if the employer was not directly negligent in hiring or managing the bouncer.
Still Have Questions? Call 402-842-7838 to Speak to an Attorney at S. Burke Law
Filing a lawsuit against a defendant who committed or is liable for assault and battery upon you can be a complicated process. Our attorneys can evaluate your case, answer your questions, and offer straightforward advice on the best course of action. Call today to set up a free consultation: 404-842-7838.
What's the Difference Between Civil vs. Criminal Assault Cases?
An act of assault could lead to two types of cases: a civil liability case and a criminal assault case.
Civil cases are brought by one or more parties against another party or parties. Generally, people sue in civil court because they suffered damages caused by another party – in this case, damages caused by the assault. The goal of most civil suits is to win compensation from the other party.
On the other hand, the state brings criminal cases when someone allegedly violated a criminal statute. The government charges people with crimes and, if found guilty, punishes them accordingly.
Criminal trials differ from civil trials in several ways, the biggest being that they have a higher standard of proof. In a criminal trial, a guilty verdict requires that the members of the jury believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime in question. By contrast, in a civil trial, the accused can be liable with a simple preponderance of the evidence, meaning the jury feels it is more likely than not that the accused is responsible.
How Does a Criminal Assault Case Work?
Criminal assault cases are brought by the state, not by the injured party. Generally, after an assault occurs, the victim reports the incident to the police. The police then investigate. If they find evidence that the assault indeed occurred, they arrest the suspect and charge them with assault.
Next, the state reviews the evidence from the police and determines if enough evidence exists to bring formal charges in court. If so, the state formally charges the suspect with assault. The defendant may then face a trial in front of a jury, which will decide on the defendant’s guilt. If guilty, the defendant may face jail time or other penalties.
How Does a Civil Assault Case Work?
A victim of assault may choose to bring an intentional tort action against the defendant who committed the assault. But the victim may choose to file a negligent tort action against other parties who contributed to the assault. For example, a victim may sue the property owner on which the assault occurred by alleging negligent security contributed to the assault.
Insurance companies may be involved in civil cases, especially when suing a property owner for negligent security. A personal injury lawyer can help negotiate a fair settlement, but some civil cases proceed to trial where a jury will decide if the defendant (e.g., the perpetrator of the assault and/or the property owner) is liable. If so, the jury may decide the amount of money the defendant must pay the victim.
Do Criminal and Civil Assault Cases Always Have the Same Outcome?
No, civil and criminal assault cases do not always have the same outcome. A defendant can be acquitted of a criminal charge and then found liable for the same incident in a civil case.
Because of the lesser standard in civil court versus criminal court, it is not uncommon for a defendant to be cleared of criminal charges but still liable in civil court. Civil cases require only a preponderance of the evidence to find the defendant liable, which, essentially amounts to a 50.1 percent chance or greater that the respondent is liable. Criminal cases, on the other hand, require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Call 404-842-7838 to Speak With a Lawyer About Your Civil Assault Case
If you are the victim of assault and wish to pursue a civil case against the perpetrator or other liable parties, S. Burke Law would be happy to discuss your case with you. We offer free consultations where we answer all your questions. Call 404-842-7838.
What To Do If Someone Assaults You at Work?
Knowing what to do if someone assaults you at work can protect you from further harm and give you the best chance of recovering damages. Make sure you do the following:
Step 1: Get to Safety and Remain Calm
Get away from the attacker as quickly as possible. Go somewhere safe - a room with a door you can lock, somewhere with other people or coworkers, anywhere that will keep you safe from further harm. And as difficult as it might be, do your best to stay calm.
Step 2: Call the Police and Get Medical Care
Even if the perpetrator left the scene, call the police to report it. The perpetrator may still be in the area, which may pose a further risk to you and others. Call the police to the scene so they can speak with you and find and arrest the perpetrator. Further, a police report is an invaluable piece of evidence in criminal and civil cases.
If you suffered physical injury (in which case you are the victim of battery), get medical care, even if you do not feel seriously injured. Request an ambulance, go to the emergency room, or set up an appointment with your doctor.
Step 3: File a Report at Work
File an incident report with your employer. Ask your supervisor how to do this if you are unsure. If the perpetrator was your supervisor, file the report with his supervisor, and on up the ladder. Informing your employer of the assault not only allows your employer to address the problem by enacting safety measures, terminating a co-worker (if the co-worker is the perpetrator), and/or providing you the time you need to get medical care.
The incident report creates a record of the assault and also establishes that you made your employer aware of the incident, which may be important if you later wish to pursue a civil case against a property owner or other party for negligent security that contributed to your injury.
Step 4: Gather Witness Statements
Were others, such as co-workers, supervisors, customers, or visitors, present to witness the assault? If so, ask for their contact information so you can later collect a statement about what they saw. The sooner you can do this, the better, as recollection of events begins to fade over time.
Step 5: Contact an Attorney
The next thing you should do is contact an attorney. Sheryl Burke can give you advice on your legal rights to recover damages and help you file suit against the responsible party or parties. Filing a claim against liable parties may be vital to getting compensation you need to cover your medical care, lost wages, and other damages.
Who Can I Pursue for Damages After a Workplace Assault?
The most likely party you can pursue for compensation is the person who committed the assault. You may be able to recover compensation from your employer too, but this is rare. After we examine the details of the incident, we can advise you on the best way to seek compensation.
Suing the Perpetrator
You may be able to sue the individual who assaulted you. Your case must prove that the perpetrator assaulted you, caused your injuries, and that you suffered damages. But the perpetrator may have limited assets to cover your full losses and expenses.
Suing Your Employer, Another Party, or Filing for Workers' Compensation
You are usually unable to sue an employer for an injury at work, but some exceptions may apply. We encourage injured people to call us at 404-842-7838 to explore whether their employer may be liable in a lawsuit.
In most case, injured workers can get workers' compensation benefits if the assault occurred at work or while performing job duties. Other parties may be liable too, such as the owner of the property where the assault happened if you can prove negligent security contributed to the assault.
Call S. Burke Law About Filing a Civil Case
Fighting for victims' rights is not merely a career for us, it is a life calling. If you want a lawyer who never stops fighting for you, and who handles your case with compassion and conviction, call us today for a free consultation. We will go over the details of your case, answer all your questions, and identify your options for getting compensation to pay your bills and cover your losses. Call today for a consultation: 404-842-7838.