There was a time when “spousal immunity” protected spouses from filing civil lawsuits against one another. Fortunately, this prohibition no longer exists in Maryland. Many victims of domestic abuse are afraid to report criminal conduct or leave a dangerous situation because of a lack of financial independence. If you are a victim of domestic abuse in Maryland, you are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to pressing criminal charges against your abuser. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we understand that behind every statistic there is a human being who has suffered. Domestic abuse inflicts significant physical and emotional harm on every person it touches. Our experienced Maryland attorney for injured victims of domestic abuse hope to provide some answers and guidance for those impacted by domestic violence in Maryland.
Filing Criminal or Civil Cases for Domestic Abuse
One question victims often have is whether they should file criminal charges or a civil lawsuit. The first thing to understand is you are not required to make that choice. Filing criminal charges against an abusive spouse does not impact your ability to file a claim for civil damages. Your abuser could be tried in both courts. The advantage of pursuing a personal injury claim is the potential ability to be awarded compensation for your medical expenses, physical and emotional suffering, lost income, property damage, and other costs you incurred because of the abuse.
Another benefit of filing a personal injury claim is that you are an active participant: You control the case. While our experienced attorneys can assist you every step of the way, you are ultimately in charge. This feeling of control can be a powerful emotional instrument when seeking compensation and justice. Additionally, monetary compensation for your suffering could be vital to moving forward for you and any children you may have. No one should be a victim of domestic abuse, but if you are, a civil lawsuit could help you move on with your life.
Types of Domestic Abuse in Maryland
Domestic violence crimes can involve much more than just physically striking a spouse. While the list of conduct that potentially constitutes abuse is long, some common examples are listed below.
- Actual physical violence such as punching, throwing, choking, kicking, or hitting
- Intimidating or scaring through threats of physical violence
- Being mentally or physically isolated from your family and support group
- Psychological abuse
- Threats to or involving your children
- Destruction of property
- Physically or emotionally harassing you, including through phone calls or online messages
- Denying you access to essential resources, such as bank accounts or credit cards
- Unwanted touching or rape
Types of Damages Victims of Domestic Abuse Might Receive in Maryland
There are several types of compensation that a victim of domestic abuse could recover through a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland.
- Economic damages, including medical bills, the cost of ongoing physical or psychological therapy, lost wages, relocation costs, or property damage
- Non-economic damages, including compensation for humiliation, emotional distress, mental harm associated with physical scars, and pain and suffering
- Punitive damages, if the abuser acted in an especially violent or malicious manner
In some instances, a jury or judge could award a victim of domestic abuse reasonable attorney fees and court costs as well.
Intentional Torts in Maryland
Generally, to be successful in a personal injury claim, the victim must prove that defendant was negligent and that their negligent conduct caused the injury. However, in cases where the action was intentional and purposeful, establishing negligence is no longer required. An intentional tort is a deliberate action that causes harm and leads to civil liability. For example, in a typical auto accident, a victim must prove that the driver who caused the accident was acting negligently when the crash occurred. However, if the driver purposefully ran into a vehicle, then negligence is no longer required.
Often, the distinction between an intentional tort and a personal injury claim based on negligent conduct is subtle. Some common intentional torts that overlap with domestic abuse include some of the conduct listed below.
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- False imprisonment
With intentional torts, physical injury is not necessarily required to be awarded damages. Both emotional distress and false imprisonment could result in mental anguish. Often, intentional torts are both civil and criminal actions, such as a lawsuit for assault and battery injuries.
Our attorneys will carefully review the harm you sustained and prepare your case accordingly. We will gather all the necessary documents and evidence required to move forward with your litigation. To establish your injuries and suffering was intentionally caused by your spouse and a result of their conduct, we will use medical records, police reports, financial statements, photographs, eyewitness testimony if available, and expert opinions. We have the depth of skill and resources necessary to make a compelling argument before the judge and jury.
Call Our Maryland Attorney for Victims of Domestic Abuse for a Free, Confidential Consultation
Domestic violence remains a serious problem in Maryland and throughout the country. Victims of abuse sometimes believe that they have no options or way out. Often, they feel they lack the emotional and financial support to leave an abusive situation. While money cannot heal all of the physical and emotional pain associated with domestic abuse, financial compensation could allow an injured person to protect themselves and their family. Our Maryland domestic abuse attorneys have more than forty years’ experience assisting victims of violence in the home. We strive to offer both legal and emotional support. If you were the victim of domestic abuse, allow our dedicated attorneys to fight for your legal rights and just compensation. Call a Baltimore personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.