After an injury accident, the victim may be unsure who is to blame for their injuries. However, when an injury is caused by an intentional action such as an assault, it is usually pretty clear who is responsible. After an assault, the victim may have to seek medical care and be unable to work for days or weeks. They may even suffer a long-term disability and be unable to return to work. This leaves them with expensive medical bills and lost wages. By contacting an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney, the victim may be able to get compensation for their injuries and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
An intentional action that causes injury, such as an assault, battery, infliction of emotional distress, or even false imprisonment, are known as intentional torts. A tort is a term for a wrong done to someone else. In these cases, an intentional tort would involve intentionally harming someone, for which the victim may have a legal right to seek damages from the wrongdoer. The victim may be able to seek compensation for the damages they suffered through filing a civil lawsuit.
The damages available for intentional actions such as assault may depend on a number of factors, including the specific victim, the victim's injuries, and the actions of the wrongdoer. This may include economic damages, such as the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, and future lost income. It may also include non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. If the action was especially egregious, the victim may also be able to seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the individual responsibly and to deter them and others from engaging in similar actions in the future.
Assault and battery are two of the most common intentional torts. Assault is an intentional attempt to injure another person by force or put the victim in fear of an immediate injury. Battery is the intentional physical contact with another person without their consent. Assault generally does not require actual physical contact, while battery involves physical contact, however slight. Battery may involve punching, kicking, or hitting another person with an object. It could also involve pushing or shoving another person or throwing something at someone.
Any physical contact without consent may be considered battery, including sexual battery or groping. Assault and battery do not require the victim to suffer a serious injury. However, in some cases, the alleged perpetrator of the assault or battery may have a defense to these charges. They may be able to claim self-defense, that their actions were justified because they were defending themselves or defending another person.
Criminal Charges and Civil Lawsuits
Many of these intentional torts are also criminal violations. As a criminal action, the prosecutor can file criminal charges against the wrongdoer, with penalties including prison, fines, and other penalties or probationary conditions as the judge sees fit. A civil action would be a separate lawsuit, filed by the victim of the crime, or plaintiff, against the wrongdoer, or defendant. As a result, the wrongdoer could be convicted of a crime and lose a civil lawsuit that awards damages to the victim.
When an action involves both a criminal charge and a civil lawsuit, the criminal charge is generally handled first. After the criminal action is concluded, the victim can proceed with their civil lawsuit. However, it is important to file these claims in time or they may be barred by the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for intentional torts in Pennsylvania is typically two years; however, it may be longer or shorter, depending on the circumstances. Contact your attorney to make sure your claim is filed within the time limit.
It is also important for a victim of assault or another intentional tort to remember that the standard of proof is different in civil and criminal court. The burden is higher in criminal court, requiring a finding of guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, in civil court, the burden is lower, generally requiring only “a preponderance of the evidence.” This means that a defendant could be found not guilty of a crime in the criminal court, while they are found liable for damages in a civil court.
Philadelphia Intentional Tort Lawyers
If you were injured due to the intentional actions of another person, you may have a claim for damages. The individual responsible for causing your injuries, harm, and distress should be held responsible for their actions. A personal injury claim can compensate you for your injuries and prevent others from having to suffer similar pain and distress in the future. Your personal injury attorney will help guide you through the legal process and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Call Gilman & Bedigian today at (800) 529-6162 for a free consultation.