Victims of assault in Chicago are usually left in emotional distress and physical pain. Fortunately, you can hold your assaulter responsible for your damages in a civil lawsuit.
Assaults are more common than one would hope and can happen almost anywhere. Some assaults might be perpetrated by someone unknown to the victim or can occur between classmates. Depending on the situation, other parties might be liable for contributing to the assault occurring, like a bar owner or stadium security at a sporting event.
Call the Ratigan Law Offices today at (312) 578-8502 today to schedule a free case review with our dedicated lawyers for victims of an assault.
Understanding How Assault is Defined by Civil Law in Chicago
While many people understand an assault to be a crime, they might not know that it is also considered an intentional tort, which a person can be held civilly liable for committing. “Torts” is a legal term for when a person intentionally acts to harm another and causes damages as a result. Many intentional torts can also be charged as crimes, but there are important differences between civil and criminal standards. Assault is a civil tort for which a person can recover damages in a Chicago lawsuit.
However, many people confuse “assault” and “battery” and use the terms interchangeably. They are closely related but are still distinct torts with their own elements. Our lawyers for victims of an assault can help determine which tort you were the victim of and prove the elements of your case. An assault occurs when someone intends to cause another person to be reasonably apprehensive of imminent and harmful contact. This means the victim was placed in reasonable fear of being touched or harmed. However, that fear must be justified. If the assaulter had the ability and the attack seemed imminent, they can be held liable for assault even if they did not make contact with the victim.
This is the main distinction between civil assault and battery. Battery occurs when a person intends to cause bodily harm or contact that is considered offensive or insulting and actually makes physical contact that causes injuries. This is why the two are commonly confused, as an assault usually precedes a battery, but the assault can occur even if the battery is not successfully carried out.
Common Situations Where Assaults Can Occur in Chicago
Assaults can happen in almost any place and at any time. However, certain situations are more likely to involve assaults and occur commonly in Chicago. Assault can be committed in our own homes by individuals we know or in public by complete strangers. Depending on where your assault was perpetrated and who assaulted you, several parties could be named in your lawsuit.
Victims can file a civil suit against someone who has assaulted them if they have been a victim of domestic violence. This can include any incident where one family member or household member commits an act that places the victim in reasonable fear of harm. As mentioned, the victim is not required to have suffered any physical injuries, but they must show that they were reasonably apprehensive of being harmed by their abuser’s actions. This can include emotional distress, loss of income, and property damage.
Bar and Club Assaults
If you are assaulted at a Chicago bar or nightclub, you deserve compensation from your attacker. In some cases, you can also file a lawsuit against the establishment for failing to provide adequate security or staff training. You might also be able to recover damages from a business or owner if they were aware of previous fights at the establishment but did not take steps to prevent future incidents from occurring. Even if you were not the intended victim or participant in a fight, another person can still be liable if they intended to assault someone other than you, but you were the one injured.
Assaults at Sporting Events
Many assaults occur in Chicago during sporting events, like football and basketball games. Like bars and clubs, it might be possible to hold the stadium owner liable in addition to your attacker if their negligence contributed to allowing the assault to occur. In other cases, a stadium security guard can be held accountable if they went beyond their right to use reasonable force and committed assault against a patron. If the security guard was poorly trained or had a history of assaulting individuals, their employer could also be held liable.
Assaults at Home or School
Unfortunately, some assaults occur in places we expect to be safe, like homes and schools. For instance, a verbal dispute with a neighbor can escalate into an assault quickly. At school, students can get into altercations that can easily lead to assaults occurring. Liability will depend on the facts of each case, but a school or school administration could be sued if their actions or practices allowed the assault to be committed.
Assaults at Nursing Homes
Assaults also occur against some of the most vulnerable individuals in Chicago: nursing home residents. Since many residents see family and friends periodically, assaults might go unnoticed or unreported. If you notice emotional changes or unexplainable financial decisions on the part of your loved one, they might be the victim of nursing home assault.
Damages that Can Be Recovered in a Chicago Lawsuit for Assault
If your assault caused you economic or non-economic losses, you can recover those damages in a lawsuit. Damages for an assault typically include medical expenses, lost income, and emotional distress.
You can recover compensation if your assault resulted in medical expenses. This can include past and future treatment you might require. Medical expenses might include costs for therapy or counseling, as many assault victims experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following an incident.
Assault victims can also be compensated for both past and future income losses caused by the assault. If you do go back to work but cannot perform certain duties due to your injuries, you will also be eligible for compensation for lost earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering
“Pain and suffering” damages compensate victims for their emotional distress from being injured in an assault case. Damages for pain and suffering can include compensation for humiliation, loss of reputation, and loss of the enjoyment of life. You will typically need medical evidence and expert testimony to establish that the assault caused your pain and suffering.
Our Chicago Lawyers for Victims of an Assault Can Help
For a free case consultation with our assault attorneys, Contact the Ratigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502.