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Can a Victim of Assault Sue for Damages?

SlechterLaw Firm, PLLC 
Angry man threatening another man outside in a park

Assault is a violent crime that can result in more than physical injuries. It can also cause emotional distress and financial hardship for the victim. Many people wonder if they can sue for damages after being assaulted. The short answer is, “Yes.”  

If you or your loved one has become a victim of assault in Louisville, Kentucky, or the surrounding area, the compassionate and results-driven husband-and-wife legal team at Slechter Law Firm, PLLC, can help. Mr. Slechter and Mrs. Slechter are available 24/7 to take your call and guide you through the process of suing the perpetrator for damages. With an office in Louisville, Kentucky, the law firm also serves clients throughout the state, including Lexington, so reach out today for support.  

What Is Assault Under Kentucky Law?

It is important to define what constitutes assault under Kentucky law. In Kentucky, an assault occurs when a person unlawfully physically injures or attempts to cause physical injuries to another person. The punishment for assault depends on the perpetrator’s culpability, the severity of the victim’s injuries, and whether the perpetrator used a weapon or another dangerous instrument.  

The perpetrator must have acted intentionally, recklessly, or wantonly for their actions to constitute assault. To be considered assault under Kentucky law, the incident must involve a physical injury to the victim (e.g., bruises, broken nose, cuts, etc.).  

What to Do After an Assault

Being a victim of assault is a traumatic experience that can leave you feeling helpless and overwhelmed. However, knowing what to do after an assault can help you protect your well-being and your right to compensation.  

1. Get Medical Attention to Document Your Injuries 

One of the most important things to do after an assault is to get prompt medical care. Not only does this ensure that any injuries are properly treated, but it also documents the extent of your injuries for legal purposes.  

2. Call the Police 

The importance of calling the police after an assault cannot be overstated. Report the incident and provide any information that can help identify the assailant. This step also documents the fact that the assault took place, which is critical if you decide to pursue legal action. Make sure to get a copy of the police report for your own records. 

3. Gather Evidence of the Incident 

If possible, gather evidence of the incident. Take photos of any injuries, record any eyewitness accounts, and document any damage to your personal property. This information can be used as evidence if you decide to pursue legal action. Gather evidence as soon as possible while the details are still fresh in your memory. 

4. Talk to Witnesses 

If anyone witnessed the incident, talk to them and write down their contact details. Their statements can help corroborate your account of the incident and strengthen your case if you decide to pursue legal action. Make sure to get their contact information so that your attorney can follow up with them. 

5. Hire an Attorney 

If you decide to pursue legal action, it is important to hire an experienced attorney who can advocate for your rights and fight for the compensation to which you are entitled. Your attorney can help you understand your legal options and represent you in court. When looking for an attorney, be sure to choose someone who specializes in helping assault victims sue for damages.  

Possible Damages  

Generally, there are three types of damages available to assault victims:  

  • Nominal damages are a small amount of money awarded to the victim to recognize that they were wronged.

  • Compensatory damages are awarded to cover the expenses caused by the assault, such as medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, diminished earning capacity, and others.  

  • Punitive damages are awarded to punish the perpetrator and deter similar conduct in the future.  

These damages can vary greatly depending on the severity of the assault and the circumstances surrounding the incident. You might want to speak with a personal injury attorney to discuss the availability of damages in your case and calculate the value of your claim against the perpetrator.  

The Burden of Proof When Seeking Damages After Assault

To successfully sue for damages after an assault, the victim must prove that the perpetrator caused their injuries. This requires proving that the perpetrator acted intentionally, wantonly recklessly, or negligently and that their actions directly caused the victim’s injuries. It is important to note that even if the perpetrator is found guilty in a criminal trial, the victim may still need to prove their case in a civil court to be awarded damages. 

The Statute of Limitations for Assault Victims in Kentucky

The state of Kentucky has a one-year statute of limitations for most personal injury cases, including assault. This means that the victim must file their lawsuit against the perpetrator within one year of the date of the assault. Otherwise, they may lose their right to sue. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as if the victim was a minor at the time of the assault. Consult with an attorney to determine the applicable statute of limitations for your individual case. 

Understand Your Rights

While the legal process of suing for damages can be daunting, victims should understand their rights and know that they have options available to help them recover from the harm caused by the assault. If you were a victim of assault in Louisville, Kentucky, or the surrounding area, contact Slechter Law Firm, PLLC to get the help you need in recovering damages. Schedule a free consultation today to get started.