Personal Injury Suits from Domestic Abuse

June 26, 2020

As COVID-19 forces people to stay at home—and in many cases, without employment or childcare—reported domestic abuse cases have been steadily ticking upward. Typically, domestic violence goes up during holidays and other times when families are expected to spend more time together. For victims, there is no worse situation than being forcibly quarantined with an abuser for weeks or months on end, with no escape. Sadly, the same social distancing efforts that were meant to protect the public at large have made it even more difficult for victims of domestic violence to seek help.

Is there any personal injury recourse for domestic abuse in Redding, CA? In addition to pressing criminal charges, it is indeed possible to sue your abuser for lost wages, medical bills, and damages for pain and suffering. Depending on the circumstances involved, you may also be able to obtain “punitive damages”, which are an extra category of damages that a jury may impose upon a defendant if they’ve acted maliciously towards the victim. As you might expect, it is best to do so once you’ve secured a safe location to stay, preferably far away from anyone who might cause you additional harm. It is possible that you’ll need to initiate divorce proceedings if the abuse was caused by a spouse—keep in mind, however, that domestic abuse can be perpetrated by anyone with whom you share a living situation.

Suing a domestic abuser

There are several different types of claims a victim can file against their abuser, including battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. When a victim has been subject to fear and intimidation, these two claims can help compensate them even when there are relatively minor physical injuries involved (or even none at all).

Intentional infliction of emotional distress is an intentional tort that requires a victim to prove that the defendant exhibited outrageous conduct that intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress to another. In order to be eligible for damages, your attorney will need to prove that the abuser’s conduct was intentional or reckless; that it was “extreme and outrageous” and that you suffered severe emotional distress as a direct result.

In this case, expert witnesses such as psychologists, psychiatrists, marital counselors and other professionals can testify to the extreme damage that an abuser can inflict. Your attorney will guide you through gathering evidence, but any harm you suffered as a result—whether job loss, increased visits to mental health professionals or otherwise—should be documented as thoroughly as possible.

You may also choose to sue your abuser for things like medical bills, lost wages and other harm that was directly caused by their actions. In some cases, this may be suitable for small claims court, whereas more serious injuries and requests for damages will require a personal injury attorney.

As always, your health and safety are paramount. If you are currently living with an abuser, call domestic violence helplines and your local police department for immediate assistance. When you are safely out of your abuser’s grasp, call a personal injury attorney to find out more about your potential case.

Domestic abuse personal injury attorneys in Redding, CA

The Law Offices of Max G. Arnold, Inc. is dedicated to pursuing justice on your behalf. If you’ve been the victim of domestic abuse, our personal injury lawyers can help you seek damages against your abuser. To learn more and schedule your consultation, call us today.

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