Victims of assault in Georgia typically must sue within two years of the incident. However, there are variables in Georgia’s statutes of limitations regarding civil suits that may extend this timeline based on the circumstances of your case. We recommend that assault victims work with a lawyer to protect their right to sue within the state’s applicable deadlines.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit to Sue for Assault
Assault victims can suffer significant physical and psychological injuries. In some cases, an assault can leave the victim permanently disabled or even result in death. You and your family do not need to shoulder these costs alone. Offenders may be ordered to pay restitution to their victims to cover costs such as medical bills.
Your civil lawsuit is independent of any criminal proceedings taking place against the perpetrator of the assault, and you may be able to file a civil lawsuit even if the criminal charges against the liable party are dropped or dismissed.
Not only will a civil lawsuit help you recover compensation for your injuries, losses, and other expenses, but it also has the benefit of holding the offender accountable for their actions. Civil suits can also act as a powerful determent, which may prevent the liable party from committing assaults in the future.
Demonstrating Liability for Your Assault
In a civil lawsuit, it is your responsibility as the plaintiff to show that the perpetrator—here, the defendant—caused your injuries.
The burden of proof is lower in the civil system than it is in the criminal system. Under Georgia law, your legal team may prevail by proving that there is at least a 51 percent chance that the defendant committed “all of the elements of the particular wrong.” Your team does not need to prove anything “beyond a reasonable doubt,” as would be necessary in a criminal case.
Even if the perpetrator was not convicted of assault, you are still entitled to file a civil claim against the attacker(s). If you do not want to file a civil claim yourself, a member of your family may be able to do this for you.
Compensation for an Assault
A civil lawsuit may award you compensation for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Every case is unique, and the exact amount of compensation to which you may be entitled will depend on the nature of your unique situation.
These damages include documented expenses stemming from the assault, such as wage slips or itemized medical bills. Some of the costs that may be covered by economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Loss of earnings and loss of future earnings
- Damage to property that may have occurred during the assault
- Other expenses that you may have incurred because of the assault
Non-economic damages include less tangible costs, such as psychological or mental distress following the assault. Examples non-economic damages you may be able to recover include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional or psychological distress
- Ongoing disability or disfigurement that you or a loved one received as a direct consequence of the assault.
- And other non-economic damages
Depending on the severity of the assault, the circumstances, and the jurisdiction you live in, you may also receive an award for punitive damages. However, it is also important to remember punitive damages are not meant to compensate the assault victim. Punitive damages are meant to act as a punishment for the offender.
Statute of Limitations in Georgia
Georgia has a statute of limitations that governs how long you have to file a legal claim, which is set at two years for civil lawsuits when you choose to sue for assault. There are exceptions to this time limit, and your lawyer can help you determine whether these may apply to your situation.
Coming forward as soon as possible before the deadline can be helpful to your legal team, as well. This will give your lawyer more time to collect evidence, gain witness statements, and build a robust case on your behalf.
If you or a loved has been injured in an assault, we can help protect your right to sue the liable party and collect compensation for your injuries. For further information, call S. Burke Law at (404) 842-7838 today.