Domestic Violence Victim
Much domestic violence is the subject of criminal prosecution. However, if your spouse or another intimate family member harms you, a criminal case is not your only recourse. Under tort law, there may be civil legal remedies for those who are injured by another person, even if the harm is intentional. You can potentially file a civil suit for compensatory damages as a domestic violence victim. Injury attorney Mark Hartsoe is familiar with helping people in Knoxville and the surrounding communities bring these claims.Seeking Justice and Compensation for Domestic Violence
Many people assume that once a criminal case is over, the defendant cannot be tried in civil court. However, a defendant can be acquitted of criminal domestic violence charges and still be held civilly liable with an award of monetary damages to the victim. The standard of proof in a criminal case is "beyond a reasonable doubt." This is a hard standard to meet. In civil court, the standard of proof is "preponderance of the evidence," which is an easier standard of proof.
Many types of domestic violence, such as assault and battery, are committed intentionally to control or hurt the victim. Afterwards, a victim of domestic violence may endure severe physical injuries that require medical treatment. This is common, for example, if the victim is punched, beaten, kicked, thrown down the stairs, or hit with a heavy object. He or she may also require psychological counseling for the trauma of domestic violence. Often, victims are unable to work for a period and suffer in multiple ways.
In Tennessee, tortious assault is any act that tends to do bodily injury to another person, accompanied by circumstances that show an intention and a present ability to use actual violence against someone. The defendant will not be liable for assault in civil court unless he or she commits an intentional act that creates in the victim a reasonable apprehension that he or she is about to be physically harmed. Words alone, however abusive, cannot constitute assault. Instead, there must be a physical act —such as throwing a chair or picking up a knife—that causes a person to believe he or she will be imminently harmed.
Under civil law, battery is an intentional physical contact with someone without that person's consent. It can include physical violence as well as sexual battery, attempted murder, malicious wounding, or molestation. Other potential causes of action in a domestic violence civil suit are intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and wrongful death.Taking your abuser to court can be emotionally stressful. However, for some victims it provides a sense of control and allows them to recover compensation for medical care and pain and suffering.Contact a Knoxville Attorney to Hold Your Abuser Accountable
At the Hartsoe Law Firm, we provide aggressive, experienced representation to domestic violence victims. Personal injury and wrongful death lawyer Mark Hartsoe can protect the rights of Knoxville residents and others throughout Tennessee. Even if your abuser was not convicted of a crime, you may have a chance at recourse in civil court with an action for damages. Often, civil lawsuits provide greater control for a victim of domestic violence than do criminal proceedings. For a free initial consultation, call (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form.