Convicting criminals for their violent crimes is certainly an effective way of holding them accountable for their actions. Sometimes, however, the actual victims of those crimes become abstract concepts, props that prosecutors use at trial for the purpose of putting criminals behind bars. Holding people accountable for the crimes they commit is an integral part of the justice system in America; however, it is just as important to help the victims of those crimes heal and get their lives back on track.
Suffering harm due to the intentional acts of another is a traumatizing experience in and of itself. Often times, victims have to testify at criminal trials in front of and against their attackers. Trying to stay current with medical bills, heal from injuries, whilst being wrapped up in criminal proceedings is overwhelming and more stress than most people can bear. Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA are here to give you peace of mind by fighting to make sure that you are justly compensated for your injuries.
Elements of Assault and Battery
Many people who are unfamiliar with our legal system do not realize that the United States has two bodies of law: criminal and civil. Criminal law addresses behavior that is considered a crime against the public or the state, even if the victim is an individual. Judges convict people of crimes in criminal courts of law to punish them for their actions and to deter others from committing similar acts in the future. Civil courts address behavior practices that are considered to be offenses against individuals or corporations. People are held liable in civil court so that their victims may be compensated for harm suffered due to the negligent or intentional acts of defendants. Wrongful actions in criminal cases are called crimes and, in civil cases are called torts.
Two of the most common intentional torts are assault and battery. The elements of assault are as follows:
- The defendant made an intentional or unlawful threat (verbal or physical) to commit an act of violence towards the victim;
- The defendant had the apparent ability to commit the act of violence that was threatened; and
- The victim had a reasonable apprehension that the threat was imminent
A victim does not have to have proof of physical harm in order to succeed on a theory of assault. Words without action are not enough to constitute assault for the purpose of a civil suit. The words must be followed up with some action indicating that the defendant has the ability to carry out the action that is threatened. Assault is sometimes accompanied by battery. The elements of battery are as follows:
- The defendant intentionally touched or struck the victim; and
- The touching or striking was committed without the consent of the victim
Victims do not have to show proof of physical injury in order to succeed on a theory of battery. All that must be proven is that unpermitted contact was made in a harmful or offensive manner.
Damages for Civil Assault and Battery Offenses
Victims of civil assault and battery may collect two kinds of damages: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are awarded for the purpose of making a plaintiff “whole.” They are divided into two subcategories: monetary and nonmonetary. Monetary damages include:
- Present and future lost earnings
- Present and future medical expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Household services
Nonmonetary damages are more difficult to calculate but they are still recoverable nonetheless. Some examples of nonmonetary damages include:
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Punitive damages are awarded in cases where a defendant’s behavior was particularly egregious or outrageous. The purpose behind awarding punitive damages is to make an example out of the defendant in an effort to deter others from committing similar acts in the future. Florida has a cap on the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded. A plaintiff may collect three times the amount of compensatory damages that are awarded or $500,000, whichever is greater.
Florida Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for filing claims for civil assault and/or battery is four years. This means that a victim has four years from the time of the incident to file a claim for assault and/or battery.
Miami Crime and Assault Victim Lawyer
If you or someone you love has suffered harm due to the intentional acts of another, do not wait any longer to contact a personal injury attorney. Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA believe that it is not enough to simply punish a defendant for their wrongdoings and issue penalties on behalf of the state. Prosper Shaked worked as a prosecutor protecting the rights of victims at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office so he understands what you are going through and the steps you need to take to get back on your feet. Call the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today at (305) 694-2676 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Miami crime and assault victim lawyer.