If you have found yourself on the receiving end of another person’s violent outburst, reckless prank or any other kind of harmful act, you may be a victim of assault or battery, two crimes that often go hand in hand. Even if the person who attacked you is charged by the State and convicted in criminal court by a jury of their peers — a possibility, but by no means a certainty — you may still find yourself on the hook for significant sums of money because of the damage inflicted by your attacker.
While the state of Maryland does make certain resources available to victims of crimes, they are often not enough to fully compensate a victim, forcing some to file lawsuits simply to keep the lights on after being assaulted. Because victims are also relegated to the position of witness in a criminal trial, rather than holding a position as a party with the power to affect the proceedings, it is possible that you may want to file a lawsuit to depose your attacker, reveal other responsible parties, or state your case to a judge.
If any of this seems to apply to you, contact the law offices of Randolph Rice, former assistant state’s attorney. For a decade now, we have fought for our clients’ rights, winning tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims along the way. For a free consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.
What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?
Although it is often associated with the infliction of bodily harm, assault (in the legal sense, at least) actually relates to the infliction of a fear of bodily harm, rather than the harm itself. To the layman, this may seem like a loose definition for a potentially damning legal term, but intent is also a crucial part of establishing assault; the accused must have intended to cause the fear, and they must have the means to carry through on the implied threat.
Battery, quite simply, is unwanted physical contact. It can take many forms, with varying levels of severity ranging from a punch to the face to attempted murder. Nonconsensual sexual contact — rape, molestation, fondling — also falls into this category. The clear definition of this type of crime makes it easy to distinguish, and easy to prove in court. Despite this, it is entirely possible that your attacker could elude conviction in criminal court with the right defense; if that happens, consider pursuing the case in civil court. It could provide the justice you seek, to some extent.
Pursuing Legal Action for Assault Injuries in Maryland
Many victims of crimes look for satisfaction, understandably, through the criminal justice system. However, this avenue may not always have the desired results; the tactics of defense attorneys and the intricacies of the legal system can often stymie the efforts of prosecutors and victims alike. Fortunately, the burden of proof in civil trials is not nearly as exhaustive as in criminal trials; what fails to win a conviction in criminal court can be much more successful in civil proceedings.
Because the victim is one of the primary parties in civil actions — as opposed to simply serving as a witness, as criminal cases — they also have more control over the proceedings. This means that they cannot be excluded from the courtroom and have final say over any settlements. In addition, lawsuits allow victims to expose all responsible parties, not just the person who attacked them directly. By forcing everyone who shares blame to shoulder some of the monetary burdens of the attack, a financial incentive is created for businesses and property owners to create safer conditions for customers.
Finally, civil actions provide the obvious advantage of providing much greater compensation to victims than that provided by criminal courts. Granted, state agencies such as Maryland’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Board do offer some financial relief to those who have been victimized, but the amount afforded to the injured party is often not enough to cover the full range of expenses that follow severe trauma. In instances like this, civil actions can offer greater relief to those faced with unexpected medical bills, loss of income, or pain and suffering.
Keep in mind, however, that Maryland law imposes a strict statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits. In the vast majority of cases, the limit to file a suit is three years from the date on which the injury was discovered. There are some exceptions: in cases of sexual battery involving children, for example, the statute of limitations is seven years, and it does not begin until the minor has reached legal adulthood. Still, in all cases it is advantageous to pursue any appropriate causes of action promptly.
Call Baltimore, MD Assault and Battery Injury Attorney Randolph Rice Today
If you have been on the receiving end of assault or battery, know that you do not stand alone. The legal team at the offices of Randolph Rice can provide the guidance you seek during this difficult time in your life. As a former assistant state’s attorney, Randolph Rice has an established record demonstrating his commitment to justice for the victims of violent crimes. Let him put that determination and experience to work for you. Call (410) 694-7291 today for your free consultation.