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Under Pennsylvania law, a “misdemeanor simple assault involves intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly inflicting bodily injury on another, attempting to do so, or putting someone in fear of imminent bodily injury,” per NOLO.
Assaults can include the use of a deadly weapon or a hypodermic needle in this state.
Assault victims may be able to file a law a claim under several theories of law, such as assault, battery, wrongful death, false imprisonment, emotional distress, civil conspiracy, and negligence. The Law Offices of Daniel P. Hartstein can assist you in determining which claim you may have. There is, however, a two-year statute of limitations to file such a suit. Please contact the Law Offices of Daniel P. Hartstein today to ensure that you still have time to file your claim.
While perpetrators of assault are prosecuted by the state – presuming they have been reported to law enforcement – it is important to understand that the prosecutors’ responsibilities are to the state, not the victim, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime. In the state of Pennsylvania, “every crime victim has the right to file a civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation from the perpetrator.” Often, assault victims have lost wages, medical bills, and even property damages to pay for after the assault. Although state law requires restitution to victims in criminal sentencing, civil actions may award more damages than criminal restitution.
Moreover, under Pennsylvania law, punitive damages may be awarded in civil suits for assault, where “conduct is outrageous, because of the defendant’s evil motive or reckless indifference to the rights of others.” The court will consider the character of the act, the nature/extent of harm, and the wealth of the defendant when awarding punitive damages.
As noted above, the prosecutor in a criminal trial is responsible to the state. A civil suit allows the victim to take more control of the case against the perpetrator. For example, in a civil suit, plaintiffs may choose to file a claim against not only the perpetrator but also against third parties, such as landlords or colleges who may bear responsibility. Additionally, civil suit plaintiffs may be able to add family members who have suffered as a result of the defendant’s actions. This cannot be done in a criminal case. Most importantly, unlike in a criminal trial, the plaintiff in a civil suit has control over whether the case settles or goes to trial.
If you have questions about filing a civil suit for a physical assault in Philadelphia, contact the Law Offices of Daniel P. Hartstein for a free consultation today. Our attorneys have represented assault victims for more than two decades. We can help you protect and enforce your rights in court.
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney client relationship.
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