Rockford, IL Lawyer for Victims of Assault

When someone is assaulted, they likely believe the only justice they can get is by the state filing criminal charges. However, victims of assault can also recover damages in a civil lawsuit.

People commonly confuse acts like assault and battery. While they are closely intertwined, they are two different claims you can file for compensation in civil court. Our team can use our experience in these cases the help determine if your assault went to the level of a battery. However, you can be assaulted without being hit or physically touched in any way. If someone else puts you in real fear of incoming contact, you likely have a valid assault case against them. our lawyers will help you get justice for your injuries even if criminal charges are not filed against your attacker.

For a free case assessment with our attorneys for victims of assault, contact Rhatigan Law Offices by calling (312) 578-8502.

Understanding Assault Claims in Rockford, IL

When someone hears assault, the first thing they likely think of is a crime. While this is true, assaulting a person is also a civil violation for which victims can pursue compensation in court. In civil law, acts like “assault” and “battery” are known as “intentional torts.” Unlike a negligence claim, where the incident was an accident and the defendant’s state of mind is not really an issue, you must show that the defendant intended to commit assault or battery in a tort claim.

However, many people conflate the terms assault and battery, often using them interchangeably. In civil law, though, they are two distinct torts. Our lawyers for victims of assault can determine how far your attacker went and what damages you deserve for the harm suffered. While different, the two torts are closely related since the defendant can commit both in the same instance. Still, it is possible to commit an assault without battery in a civil claim.

Assault Claims

An assault in civil law can be thought of as the actions that lead up to a battery. More specifically, a person is liable for assault if they intend to put you in fear of imminent physical contact or harm. This means they acted in a way or made statements that made you reasonably afraid of incoming contact. Although, it is still assault whether they actually hit you or not.

The defining feature here is the imminent nature of the contact. A person cannot be liable for assault if they cannot actually carry out the threat. In the example above, if the argument was over the phone and the other person said, “One day, you are going to get yours,” that would likely not constitute assault. It is true that it sounds threatening, but it is not an imminent threat.

For instance, someone telling you over the phone that they are going to beat you up does not usually rise to the level of assault. However, if the person you are arguing with steps closer to you with a fist raised, most people would assume they are about to be punched. Even if they stopped there without actually hitting you, they could still be sued for assault.

Battery Claims

Battery is closely related to assault but is a distinct offense. In a battery claim, you must show that the defendant intended a harmful or offensive touching that caused you injuries. Going back to the above example, if the defendant walked up to you with a raised fist and actually punched you, they could be sued for assault and battery.

Intention is the key in these cases. Perhaps someone slipped and tried to grab you to avoid falling. This would not be battery because the person did not intend to make harmful contact.

However, battery is not limited to obvious cases like someone punching you. A person can also be liable for battery if they cause “offensive” (rather than “harmful”) touching. This means you do not have to suffer bodily harm to have a valid battery claim. For instance, the court in a famous case called Fisher v. Carrousel Motor Hotel held that a person can be sued for battery if they slap something out of someone’s hand. It is true that in a case like this, they might not touch you physically, but most people would find that kind of behavior offensive.

In other cases, the defendant might have made “contact” without touching you. Perhaps you were arguing with another patron at a bar and they spit on you or blew smoke in your face or you were shot. The fact that they did not put their hands on you would not stop you from filing a claim for battery. However, while these are clear examples of offensive behaviors, what constitutes harmful or offensive is done on a case-by-case basis.

What to Do After Being Assaulted in Rockford, IL

The first thing to do after an assault is call 911. It is important to report the incident since it will create a report that our lawyers can obtain later. It will also help when arguing your case later to show that the incident was serious. Emergency medical services will also be dispatched to provide on-the-scene treatment.

Do not stop with EMS. You should also get medical care at the hospital after your assault. The emergency room will be able to run more comprehensive tests and make more detailed records. Your treating physician will also record the cause of your injuries, so you will have a chance to explain the incident that brought you in, which will then be included in the final ER report. Our team will use these records to help prove your damages and substantiate your claims.

One important step you can do while still on the scene is to collect additional evidence. However, only gather additional information if you are out of danger. If so, take pictures of the scene. You should also get photos of your injuries and any damage that was done to your property. Also, get the responding officers’ information, like their name and badge number. We might need to call them as witnesses later to testify to what they observed when they arrived at your assault.

After receiving the care you need, the final step is to contact our firm. Our lawyers will waste no time in getting your claim started. We know that many assault cases rest on the testimony of the victim and witnesses to the incident. If too much time passes before litigating your case, important details might be lost. Your memory of the incident might be as fresh as when it occurred, but witnesses will forget things as time goes on. We will work quickly to preserve the evidence in your case.

Our Rockford, IL Attorneys for Victims of Assault Can Help You Get Justice for Your Injuries

For a free case assessment with our lawyers for victims of assault, call Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502.