For those who have been wrongfully damaged by another party, tort law offers civil legal remedies, typically in the form of monetary compensation or injunctive relief (the court directing one party to perform certain acts or refrain from performing others). Continue reading to discover more about bringing a civil action for domestic abuse.
Criminal Cases Do Not Preclude a Victim from Filing a Civil Lawsuit
It’s a prevalent fallacy that a person cannot be tried in civil court for the same claim after being tried in criminal court. That is untrue. Consider the Goldman v. Simpson case. Although Ron Goldman’s murderer O.J. Simpson was found not guilty in a criminal trial, Goldman’s parents successfully sued Simpson in a civil court for monetary damages.
You can still file a civil lawsuit against your abuser even if they have already been found guilty of a crime or you have a restraining order against them. Only when there are several criminal charges for the same offense does the idea of double jeopardy apply; this is not the situation in civil proceedings.
A family member being sued
Historically, courts have prohibited family members from bringing tort claims against one another. Concerns about the breakdown of the family were the driving force for this statute. Today, the majority of state courts have abandoned this practice on the grounds that if family members have tort claims against one another, the family structure has likely already disintegrated and the aggrieved parties should be allowed to present their case in court.
Currently, Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. that still forbids spouses from suing one another, with certain exceptions. Spouses may, nevertheless, bring deliberate tort claims against one another. Any intentional wrongdoing that results in injury to another person is referred to as an intentional tort. Due to the fact that many types of domestic violence are intentional torts, such as battery, assault, and psychological abuse, they may give rise to legal claims even in jurisdictions where family-related lawsuits are typically prohibited. If the abuser was stalking, threatening, or causing property damage, another tort action called intentional infliction of emotional distress may also be brought.
Prior to filing a domestic violence lawsuit, things to think about
Victims of domestic violence are frequently deprived of their sense of control and their means of expressing their emotions. Suing you can give your abuser emotional relief and a sense of control. Victims of domestic violence may be eligible for the following forms of damages:
Distress and suffering
Punitive damages, which are only permitted in particular states.
Remember that any lawsuit involves a huge lot of stress. Due to the pressure on familial ties, lawsuits involving family members can be considerably more unpleasant. For victims, it is frequently difficult enough to simply call the police or request a restraining order against their abusers. It might be as difficult to prosecute the abuser in court. Victims may, however, be prepared to fight back if they become aware of their predicament. Taking their abuser to court may provide victims with some measure of closure—a means to put the past behind them and begin again.
It can be highly expensive to litigate. But courts have the power to order the abuser to cover your costs. Although it is uncommon in these kinds of situations, lawyers may accept contingency fees in claims involving monetary damages. You won’t have to pay an attorney under this fee agreement if you hire them to represent you if you win the lawsuit. To put it clearly, it matters if your abuser has the financial means or other assets necessary to cover damages when deciding whether to pursue a domestic violence lawsuit.