Talking out issues instead of resorting to physical violence is something we are all supposed to learn in kindergarten. However, altercations and unprovoked attacks still happen every day.Getting assaulted while going about your day is, needless to say, unpleasant. You could be left with bumps, bruises, broken bones, and more. Serious injuries will likely land you in the hospital with medical bills to pay.
While your first instinct will likely be to press criminal charges against your attacker, you will also want to pursue a civil claim against them. Criminal trials only punish the guilty. They do not try to compensate you in any way other than the peace of mind that may come from justice being done. If you want financial compensation or damages, you must sue the attacker in a civil case. A Queens personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages after getting beat up.
The Statue of Limitations in Queens, NY
You cannot wait to press criminal charges or bring a civil claim in New York. A law called the statute of limitations puts a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit.After that time runs out, your case will not be heard in court,you won’t recover anything,and the defendant won’t face criminal charges.
For criminal assault charges, the statute of limitations in New York is between two and five years,depending on the facts.Misdemeanors have a shorter statutory period, while felonies have a longerlegal shelf life. The degree of seriousness in your case will determine the statutory period for you.For a civil case, the statute of limitations for assault in New York is one year. This is notmuchtime at all,so it is very importantto contact an attorney and file your claim right away.
Queens, NY Criminal Assault Law Explained
New York law does not have a statute governing“battery.”Instead, there are different levels of assault under New York law.New York divides criminal assault into three categories, or degrees, of assault.Assault in the third degree, also called simple assault, is the least serious of these crimes. All that is required to prove simple assault is that someone caused you harm and that they intended to do so.Nothing else is required.Second degree assault is more serious.Second degree assault requires that the assailant intends to cause serious physical harm and then succeeds in causing at least some harm. Additionally, if the assaulter intends only to cause some harm but ends up causing serious harm, say, a broken bone, that is also second degree assault. Second degree assault carries with it a mandatory jail sentence upon conviction
Assault in the first degree is the most serious type of assault under New York law. First degree assault requires intent to cause serious injury plus actual causation of serious injury. Assault with a deadly weapon is also considered assault in the first degree. First degree assault is a serious charge with a minimum five-year prison sentence attached.
While you certainly hope that your assailant will be criminally punished for attacking you, you will also likely want to bring a civil lawsuit against them. A criminal trial is about punishing the guilty. The prosecution brings a case alleging that the defendant committed a crime. If the defendant is found guilty,they are then sentenced. A criminal trial does not compensate the victim in any way other than the knowledge that justice has been done. A criminal trial won’t pay for medical bills.
On the other hand, a civil trial aims to makethe plaintiff whole again.The objective is to put the plaintiffback wheretheystartedbeforebeing wronged by the defendant. Civil trials are where monetarydamages are awarded to plaintiffs.
Intentional Torts Explained
In law, a“Tort”is a fancy word for a wrongful act that makes someone liable for damages in court. If someone runs a red light and hits you with their car, that’s a tort. If you slip and fall in a store with no“wet floor”sign, that’s also a tort. An intentional tort is a wrong stemming from someone’s intentional act. The four classic intentional torts are battery, assault,trespass to chattel or property damage, and false imprisonment. If you’re suing someone for beating you up, you are likely alleging that the assailant committed a battery.
New York Law defines the tort of battery as any intentional, harmful or offensive contact that causes injury to another person. The intentionality requirement does not refer to an intent to cause injury. It refers to the intent to do the act. For example, if you punch someone“as a joke”(not that punching people is ever a joke) and end up breaking their arm, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t mean to break their arm. You intended to punch them.Battery does not just refer to the classic example of beating someone up. Any unwanted, offensive contact that results in injury is a battery. For example, spitting on someone is a battery, as is blowing cigarette smoke in someone’s face.To prove battery in court, four elements need to be established. Those elements are duty, breach,causation, and injury.Duty refers to an individual’s obligations to fellow citizens under the law.The duty element is argued about frequently in torts, but it’s rather straightforward in a lawsuit about a plaintiff getting beaten up.People have an obligation to refrain from beating each other up.Breach means that the defendant did not uphold their duty. In this case, the defendant breached their duty not to beat up their fellow citizens. The causation element requires you to prove that the defendant caused your injuries. It wouldn’t makes sense to sue the person who didn’t attack you. Something that could help prove causation in this instance would be a phone video of the defendant beating up the plaintiff.Finally, the injury element requires that the defendant actually injure the plaintiff. If the plaintiff by some miracle walks away from an assault unscathed, there isn’t an injury to recover anything for.Hospital bills or physical therapy costs are common injuries in a battery lawsuit.