Seattle Lawyers Representing Assault Victims
If you have been the victim of a physical or sexual assault, it is an understatement to say you are probably going through a very difficult time. In addition to recovering from your physical injuries, you must cope with the emotional trauma of the experience. The psychological effects of a physical or sexual assault can be more profound than the physical repercussions. You should speak with an experienced Seattle personal injury lawyer about how to pursue compensation for these very serious injuries.
After the assault, your focus may be on seeing your assailant charged with a crime. Under the Revised Code of Washington, Chapter 9A.36, the offender may be charged with assault in the first, second, third, or fourth degree. Following a sexual assault, an offender may be charged with rape in the first, second, or third degree under Chapter 9A.44.
But the criminal courts are not your only opportunity to obtain justice. When you are injured because of another person’s intentional misconduct, you should work with a personal injury lawyer in King County who specializes in this complicated field to pursue fair and complete compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial injuries.
Criminal and Civil Cases Differ
The criminal and civil courts handle different types of cases. In Washington’s criminal courts, people are charged with crimes for violating one or more state laws or local ordinances. In the civil courts, the focus is on whether one party wronged another and caused the victim or injured party physical, emotional, and/or financial harm.
Criminal cases are brought by district attorneys, also known as prosecutors, on behalf of a municipality or the state. Civil cases do not involve a prosecutor. They are brought by a private party (called the plaintiff) against another private party, either an individual or business, (called the defendant).
If a defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor or felony assault in criminal court, they can be punished with fines, incarceration, probation, community service, counseling, and more.
If the defendant is found guilty in a civil courtroom, they cannot be incarcerated or otherwise punished. The results of civil cases are almost always monetary awards intended to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries. These awarded damages are typically in two categories —for economic losses such as medical bills and wage loss, and for the person’s physical and emotional pain and suffering.
An assault can lead to both criminal and civil cases. These cases are separate, though they can impact one another. Following your assault, the prosecutor decides whether to pursue criminal charges. If you have a meritorious claims, it is your decision whether to file a civil personal injury lawsuit and pursue compensation for your injuries.
It is possible for you to win compensation in a personal injury case after an assault even if the prosecutor does not pursue criminal charges or the defendant is acquitted in court. This is because the burden of proof differs between criminal and civil cases.
In a criminal case, the prosecutor must establish the other person is guilty of the assault beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard.
In a civil courtroom, the burden of proof is lower. You must prove the other person caused you harm by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, you must prove that it is more likely than not that the other person assaulted you and caused your injuries.
Seeking Personal Injury Compensation After an Assault
If you were physically or emotionally harmed following a physical or sexual assault, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Seattle.
If you with a Seattle personal injury lawyer who represents assault victims, you will have someone to guide you through the civil court process to pursue fair and complete compensation for your injuries.
At Menzer Law Firm, we will fight hard for you to receive compensation for your past and future damages, including:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Reduced Earning Capacity
Do Not Assume Your Assailant Cannot Pay
A common mistake assault victims make is assuming an offender would be unable to pay a significant personal injury award. We recommend talking with a personal injury lawyer at Menzer Law Firm before assuming the other party has too little income or assets to pay for your damages. We will look closely into your case and advise you on the likelihood of recovering a monetary judgement.
You Should Call a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer Right Away
You do not need to wait until the criminal case is charged or resolved before speaking with a personal injury lawyer about filing a civil claim. You can move forward with a civil personal injury case right away. In most circumstances, the sooner we get started, the better.