We are used to viewing sexual assault, battery, and murder as criminal acts of violence, punishable by prosecution and, if found guilty, incarceration. There is another aspect of criminal charges that victims can explore in order to obtain restitution in damages for the injuries they suffer, and that is a civil complaint.
A battery is a criminal matter, but it is also a civil matter when it comes to addressing the victim’s “damages.” Under Civil Case Law, money damages are defined as those funds necessary to make the victim “whole” again; that will compensate the victor for his or her injuries and the suffering caused by the actions of the defendant.
If a victim has been injured as the result of criminal act, that victim may also be able to collected money damages from the perpetrator in a civil action.
Assault and Battery as an Intentional Tort
Assault and battery is a criminal matter, but it is also an intentional tort. As such, it is actionable in civil court. Civil damages for sexual assault and battery may be awarded a victim if the victim’s attorney can show the jury by a preponderance of the evidence that the offender committed the battery and is liable to the victim for his or her damages.
Wrongful Death (Murder) as an Intentional Tort
All the elements necessary to prove an intentional tort for personal injury, will apply in a case of wrongful death. A civil complaint for wrongful death is much different than a criminal charge, in that, in the criminal charge, the prosecutor must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is the perpetrator of the offense. It is the state against the perpetrator and there are no damages to be awarded. The perpetrator is either guilty or innocent. If guilty, he will face a prison sentence. However, in a civil action for wrongful death, the plaintiff is seeking money damages, exclusively, and the proof of liability is by a preponderance of the evidence.
The Most Infamous Case of Wrongful Death
One of the most infamous criminal/civil murder/wrongful death cases was the O.J. Simpson case. While O.J. Simpson was acquitted in the murder trial, he was held liable to the Browns and to the Goldmans in their civil case. The Browns and the Goldmans were awarded damages in the civil case, in the amount of $25 million.
The Most Recent Case of Sexual Assault, Battery
Jared Fogle was the Subway pitchman accused of sexual assault and pedophilia. In August 2015, federal prosecutors and Fogel entered into a plea agreement wherein he agreed to plead “guilty” on two counts, one having to do with the receipt and the distribution of child pornography, and the other count having to do with traveling to engage in sexual conduct with a minor. According to the plea bargain, Fogel was to pay $1.4 million in victim restitution and a minimum sentence of fifteen years in prison.
Most recently, another victim of Fogel’s sexual abuse has come forward. She has filed a civil action in the federal court, seeking $300,000 in damages against Fogle, and the then head of his anti-obesity charity, Ron Elberger.
Many victims of criminal acts of violence are not aware that they may also be able to sue for damages in a criminal case. For more information on this issue, please contact an experienced personal injury law attorney.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of the negligent or intentional acts of another, it is important that you have someone on your side that is knowledgeable about your rights and any remedies you might be entitled to. You need an experienced personal injury law attorney. Please contact us today, by phone at 1-877-363-7942, or take advantage of our online case evaluation form to schedule your initial case review.
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