Did someone beat you up? In previous times, a fight happened at school or the local hangout between young ruffians looking for easy entertainment. In more recent times, fights have escalated with more people deciding to use weapons resulting in more severe injuries to victims. Even when weapons aren’t used, with nutritional gains and improved fitness techniques, some people are able to inflict serious pain on others. It is no surprise that many are seeking recovery under the law when they become victims of such violent acts. Fortunately, the law provides a remedy for these situations but it is up to each person to decide if pursuing these remedies is worth their time.
I recently received a phone call from a good friend. He called to ask me about what can be done with his cousin. Apparently he got into a fight with a college football player. His cousin was an aspiring engineer, so you can imagine that this cousin was not spending his free time in the gym. Anyway, the cousin ended up being severely injured and in the hospital. He wanted to bring suit against this fellow. Fortunately, it would be easy to track him down since he was a member of a collegiate football team, but given the facts, I determined that he may want to reconsider a civil suit for money damages.
In the US, personal injuries can be brought in a civil suit for money damages. Some of those injuries also overlap with criminal charges that can be brought. In the instance of injuries from a fight, assault and battery have civil and criminal equivalents. When someone has been injured, they may prefer monetary damages to compensate for the cost of injuries. However, suing a private person is typically a losing proposition because most people do not have substantial amounts of money. Typically, personal injury lawsuits involve suing someone who has insurance for the resulting injury, as with a car accident. It is not possible to insure against beating someone up because it is against public policy as it might create a perverse incentive to engage in such behaviors that we want to discourage.
There are other ways of getting around this if the facts will support it. One is through pursuing a premises liability claim. Typically, altercations occur in bars and similar establishments. These establishments have insurance for unexpected issues and if the facts support the situation, they may be liable for damages. Another alternative is to pursue a dram shop action. In Illinois, dram shops are liable for providing intoxicating beverages to others if those they serve subsequently injure others.
Unfortunately for my friend, the facts do not support these types of actions. A final alternative is to pursue criminal liability. This may not result in money damages, but it would definitely cripple the potential career of an aspiring athlete.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured by physical violence please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.