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Jersey City Lawyer for Victims of Assault

Assault and battery are serious harms that go against the law – both civil and criminal.  If you were the victim of physical assault or sexual assault, you deserve compensation for the injuries you suffered.  This is something that the criminal justice system might not be able to give you, and you should consider filing a civil lawsuit against your assailant as well.

Our lawyers represent victims of assault and battery and work to get them the damages they deserve.  This can include medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic results of the injury, as well as compensation for your pain and suffering.

Call our attorneys for victims of assault today at Legal Care New Jersey by dialing (732) 838-9769 for a free case assessment.

What Constitutes Assault for a Civil Case in Jersey City?

People may be primarily familiar with the term “assault” in the context of the crime of assault.  While “simple assault” and “aggravated assault” are crimes defined under N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1, there are separate definitions for “assault” and “battery” in civil law.  These broadly overlap with those criminal definitions but do have some distinct differences.  The same is true when it comes to sexual assault definitions.

Criminal Assault

Under the statute cited above, the crime of assault is defined as a knowing or purposeful attempt to cause someone “bodily injury.”  There are some variations in the level of crime and the mental state needed depending on whether a weapon is involved, who is assaulted, and whether the injury rises to the level of “serious bodily injury.”  All in all, the important thing to note is that the crime called “assault” does not need actual physical contact – merely an attempt to hit someone also counts.  Something like poisoning them or pointing a gun at them also counts.

Civil Assault

Assault and battery are usually paired together because they are two parts of one completed action in many cases.  In the civil law system, we call things “torts” instead of “crimes,” and you can file a claim or “cause of action” for various torts.

If you imagine someone pulling back their fist and punching someone, the tort of assault covers pulling back the fist.  Technically speaking, the tort of assault occurs when someone puts another person in apprehension that they will face unwanted or injurious physical contact.

Note that you have to be in immediate apprehension that you will be injured.  Threats from across the room, threats of future injury or conditional threats (e.g., “Say that one more time and I’ll hit you,”) typically would not qualify as assault.

Civil Battery

Battery is the second part of an assault.  The tort of battery consists of intentionally making unwanted or injurious physical contact.  In the example of pulling back a punch to hit someone, battery would cover actually making contact with the punch.

Whether there are corresponding criminal charges or not, our lawyers for victims of assault can help you sue for assault and/or battery when appropriate.

When to Sue for Assault and Battery

If someone hits you or touches you in an offensive or unwanted way, that often constitutes assault and battery.  There are cases where you might only sue for one – such as claiming battery alone for an attack from behind or assault alone for a missed punch.  However, most cases will involve the apprehension that you will be hit, followed by actually being hit.

As with the crime of assault, battery claims can be quite broad and would cover not only punches and kicks but also strangulation, poisoning, spitting, putting something unsafe in your food, or other attacks.  The tort of assault can also be filed for having a gun pointed at you, versus battery would be claimed if you were shot.

Sexual Assault Crimes

The crime of sexual assault is codified under N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2.  Different levels of sexual assault (aggravated vs. simple) have different specifics in the elements of the crime, but the general conduct in most sexual assault charges is nonconsensual sexual penetration.  This is essentially the crime of “rape,” but it has a different name in NJ.

Unwanted sexual touching is charged under a separate crime called “criminal sexual contact” under N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-3.  This can be charged for touching over or under the clothes in most non-consensual cases.

Civil Claims for Sexual Assault

When suing in civil court for sexual assault, the facts of your case do not need to meet the specifics of either of these criminal statutes.  Assault and battery are still usually the same torts that you file, and any intentional touching – whether simply unwanted or actually injurious – would be enough to qualify for a lawsuit.  If the touching had a sexual nature to it, that makes the offense worse but does not necessarily change the base elements your lawyers need to prove.

Can You Sue and File Criminal Charges for Assault Simultaneously in Jersey City?

As discussed above, assault and battery are the basis of a civil cause of lawsuit and assault or sexual assault is the basis for criminal charges.  The same underlying actions can be grounds for both types of cases to be filed.

This means that even if you already reported what happened to you to the police, you can also sue separately.  In your lawsuit, you will fight for damages that the criminal case might not pay you, helping you to recover from the injuries and not just to punish the defendant.

In most cases, the criminal case will take priority and go first.  That means these cases will not necessarily be simultaneous, but you are free to file your case when it is ready, regardless of the status of the criminal case.

If the criminal case goes first and you win, you can use that conviction to help prove your civil case.  If the criminal case goes first and the defendant beats the charges, you might still succeed in civil court because the burden of proof is lower.

Call Our Jersey City Assault Victim Lawyers Today

For help with your case, call our lawyers for victims of assault from Legal Care today at (732) 838-9769.

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