What is an Assault and Battery Lawyer?
Assault is a threat with the intention to harm, while battery is when someone follows through with the intent and makes contact. A lawyer or law firm specializing in assault and battery is dedicated to helping victims recover damages.
These attorneys do not defend the perpetrator in criminal cases. They work with victims in negotiating settlements or filing civil lawsuits. They have experience working with victims, understand the related laws, and are sensitive to the trauma caused by violent crimes.
When Do I Need to Talk to an Assault and Battery Lawyer?
If someone threatened to hurt you, tried to harm you, and made you feel threatened and as if they would follow through on the threat, you may be a victim of assault. If anyone has touched you in any way that caused harm and was not consensual, you may be a victim of battery.
Talk to a lawyer in either of these situations. You may feel uncertain about what happened, if it really was assault or battery, or if you had any blame in the situation. Don’t let these doubts stop you from talking to a lawyer. Attorneys experienced in assault and battery cases can look over your case for free and let you know if it has merit.
Where Do I Find an Assault and Battery Lawyer?
Lawyers specializing in assault and battery are typically personal injury lawyers. While it may seem different from a case of negligence, a civil action against the perpetrator of assault or battery is a type of tort. What distinguishes it from negligence is intention.
Assault and battery are intentional torts. The laws guiding lawsuits against the perpetrators are numerous and vary by state. You need a lawyer who specializes in these cases, not just in general personal injury.
You can search online for lawyers with this specialty. Check with any friends or family who have been in a similar situation. They may have a referral. Try local organizations for victims and advocacy groups. They likely have experienced lawyers in their networks.
What Should I Look for in a Lawyer?
The first factor in your choice of a lawyer should be experience working on behalf of assault and battery victims. You are not obligated to choose the first law firm you find that meets the criteria. You can and should interview a few to select the best lawyer for you.
Reputable firms will offer a free initial consultation so that you do not have to spend money to get your questions answered:
- How many cases like mine have you handled, and what were the outcomes?
- What are some examples of wins you have gotten for victims?
- Can you provide me with references from past clients?
- Do you have experience litigating as well as negotiating settlements?
- How strong do you think my case is?
- What do you think my case is worth?
- How will you investigate and prove my case?
- Will I have to be in court in front of the person who hurt me?
- What are your rates, and do you have a contingency payment plan?
Choose a lawyer or a firm that makes you feel comfortable. These types of lawyers should be sensitive to the needs of victims of violence. You should feel confident that a lawyer cares about the outcome and are able to devote resources to your case.
Talk with a lawyer as soon as you can after the incident. States set time limits on filing civil lawsuits, known as statutes of limitations, which can be as short as one year.
How to Work with a Lawyer in an Assault and Battery Case
Talking about the assault and battery you went through isn’t easy. It can bring up painful memories and make you feel ashamed, embarrassed, or afraid. Keep in mind that your lawyer is here to help, not to judge. The single most important thing you can do to help a lawyer help you is being honest and open about what happened.
In addition to hearing all the details you can recall about the incident, your lawyer will likely need to see:
- Witness contact information
- Recollections from witnesses or any evidence they can provide, such as video recordings of the event
- Contact information about the perpetrator and anyone else involved
- Photo evidence of your injuries, if you have it
- Medical records and bills from injuries caused by the incident
- Records of mental health care you have received because of the incident
- Information about a criminal case if the perpetrator is being charged
Your lawyer will do much of the work of filing and settling a lawsuit on your behalf. They need you to be a partner, though, and to provide as much information as possible. Be honest and remember that they can only use information if you allow it.
If someone has hurt you or threatened to hurt you, you may have a case for an assault and battery civil lawsuit. Talk to a lawyer, so you understand your options and get the guidance you need moving forward.