You can sue someone for assault with the intent to win financial damages because the act can be both a crime and a tort. A tort is a civil wrong, as opposed to a criminal wrong. For example, if someone kills another person, the perpetrator can face criminal charges of murder or manslaughter. The survivors of the deceased person can also sue the killer for wrongful death to collect financial damages for their losses.
To sue your attacker, we will have to prove one of these factors:
- The defendant tried to commit a violent injury to your person.
- The defendant committed an act that put you in reasonable fear of immediate violent harm.
In other words, if someone hurt you or tried to hurt you through violence, Georgia law lets you sue that person in civil court for financial compensation.
Suing a Property Owner After an Assault
Sometimes you can sue the individual and the owner of the property where the assault occurred. A landowner whose carelessness caused or contributed to your assault can be liable for money damages. Two common legal grounds for suing a property owner for an assault by a third party are simple negligence and negligent security.
If the landowner does something careless and you are assaulted as a result, you might be able to sue for negligence. Let’s say that you were assaulted when you were a patient at a hospital.
Here are the elements we will have to prove to hold the hospital responsible for your losses:
- Duty of care. The hospital owed you a duty of care to hire employees who will not attack you while you are vulnerable as an inpatient.
- Breach of duty. When someone fails to measure up to the legal standard of a duty of care, it is negligence. Let’s say that the hospital failed to perform adequate background checks on new hires. As a result of this carelessness, the hospital hired an orderly who had multiple convictions for assaulting people on the job. The hospital was negligent in its duty to hire employees who will not harm patients.
- Causation. The orderly attacked you in your hospital room. The hospital’s negligence caused or contributed to the harm because the company’s carelessness put the attacker in a position in which he could harm people.
- Quantifiable harm. You must have measurable harm as a result of the negligence. Physical injury satisfies this element of simple negligence.
Under this fact pattern, you could sue the orderly and the hospital.
Sometimes a business’s negligent security results in harm to innocent people. For example, say someone visiting a loved one at the hospital was assaulted in the hospital parking lot.
We will have to prove all four of these factors to hold the hospital responsible under the legal definition of negligent security:
- The property owner owed the victim a duty of care. Landowners have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to keep people who are legally on the premises safe from criminal harm. Someone who was visiting a patient was on the property legally.
- The defendant owner failed in its duty. Although there had been a string of assaults in the parking lot over the previous months, the hospital did not take any action to protect people who used the parking lot. The hospital could have posted warning signs, installed security cameras, or hired security guards to patrol the parking lot. The hospital failed to respond to a known danger to visitors and, thus, failed in its duty.
- The negligent security caused harm to the victim. A visitor was robbed at gunpoint in the hospital parking lot. Under these circumstances, the hospital’s negligent security caused or contributed to the assault.
- Adequate security would have prevented the crime. The assault was foreseeable, and adequate security would have prevented the crime. As a result, the hospital is liable to the crime victim under the legal theory of negligent security.
This scenario demonstrates all four required elements of negligent security.
Getting Legal Help After an Assault
Our law firm wants to help people who get hurt through violence at the hands of others. We can take the burden of handling your injury claim off of your shoulders so that you can focus on getting better.
Call S. Burke Law today to get started. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation. If you want to pursue suing someone for assault, call us at (404) 842-7838.