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Can You Sue Someone for Beating You Up?

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

Can you sue someone for beating you up? The answer is yes, but is it even worth your time to pursue a lawsuit?

Modern America isn't the Wild West or a Kung Fu movie. We live in a civil society where you have the right not to be beaten up by strangers, police, or even family members.

So here's how to go about suing if someone beats you up, along with a few factors you'll want to consider:

Suing Your Attacker

Often fights or beatings do not end in criminal charges, but that doesn't mean that your attacker is off the hook. You can still sue the person who beat you up for:

  • Assault. Although the term sounds like it involves physical contact, in civil court it only requires an intentional attempt or threat to cause harm to another person. Combined with your reasonable fear of bodily harm or offensive contact, your attacker has committed the tort of assault.
  • Battery. This is the civil charge associated with any intentional hitting or offensive touching that occurred when you were beaten up. Battery can also include any strikes you may have received as a result of someone accidentally trying to hit another person (see transferred intent).

With both of these civil charges, you need to prove damages in order to successfully sue your attacker. This typically entails providing medical bills or evidence of lost wages that can be attributed to your beating. If you can't prove any damages from the attack, then your suit may be tossed.

Suing Third Parties

Often the people who beat you up are guilty... but penniless. Even a successful suit against your attackers may not help you recover from your injuries if you can't collect a dime from them.

Luckily there are a few other ways to sue third parties for your beating injuries, such as:

  • Premises liability. Clubs are fairly common backdrops for fights, and a lack of proper security at a venue may mean liability for your injuries.
  • Dram shop laws. Many states will pass the liability for damage done by drunken bar patrons on to the bars themselves. If a drunken bar patron was "overserved" and then wails on you, you may be able to sue the bar.
  • Negligence. Employers are typically not held responsible for the criminal or intentional torts of their employees, but they may be held liable for failing to train or selecting dangerous individuals as employees.

If you need help suing after you were beaten up, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.

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