Can I file a lawsuit against a person for physically assaulting me?

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer just posted a story about a stand-up comic who was assaulted while on stage. The comedian, Dylan Avila, suffered a skull fracture when Jamal Harrington, another comic, jumped on the stage and struck him with a baseball bat.

Avila was performing at a Renton bar when he was struck twice in the head. He was lucky not to suffer brain damage but will spend a few days in the hospital.

The suspect is being held in jail with no bail.

While we can’t speak to the specifics of this case from a newspaper report, you might be wondering, “Can a person sue someone who assaults them?”

“Assault is a crime but can also be the grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.”

Filing an Assault Lawsuit
Victims of assault can file a personal injury lawsuit on the person who attacked them if the following elements are present:

  • The person intentionally attacked you and meant to cause you harm.
  • You were injured or feared injury from the defendant.

In Avila’s case, he might be able to file a civil suit since it appears the assailant intentionally harmed him and Avila was clearly injured. A lawsuit in civil court may be filed regardless of the criminal charges that the perpetrator might face.

Damages in an Assault Personal Injury Case

In cases where an assault resulted in physical injuries, psychological damages or both, a person may be entitled to recover economic, non-economic damages and maybe even punitive damages.

Economic damages include expenses and costs that a person incurred as a result of the assault including medical costs and loss of wages. If the assault left the victim disabled, the loss of future wages, rehabilitation costs and costs of care may also be included.

Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering.

Punitive damages for assault can be provided if the defendant maliciously and intentionally meant to cause harm. Punitive damages are both meant to punish and to set a public example.

Is my Lawsuit Viable?

Every case is unique. Even with witnesses to an assault and serious injuries, if the perpetrator has no significant assets, there may be no money to get from the perpetrator. In some cases, a victim may be able to file suit against a property owner if they are liable for negligence. For example, if a bar over served a patron who was obviously intoxicated and belligerent, there may be a valid a claim against the property owner.

To discuss the particular details of your case, you are advised to speak to a personal injury attorney. The Farber Law Group has more than 40 years experience representing persons with serious personal injuries. Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

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