Victims of domestic abuse have rights. They can proceed with a criminal complaint, looking to law enforcement and the court to find justice. They are also entitled to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser, petitioning the court for just compensation for the injuries and pain they suffered.
If you or a loved one was the victim of domestic violence or abuse, contact our Baltimore attorney for injured victims of domestic abuse. We offer our clients sympathetic, professional and confidential representation. To schedule a free appointment, call the Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.
Victims of Domestic Abuse in Baltimore
Under the Maryland Code of Family Law, two separate elements are necessary to establish an incident of domestic abuse. First is actual evidence that the abuse occurred, including proof of physical assault, rape, intimidation, or the infliction of intentional emotional distress. Additionally, an explicit relationship must exist between the abuser and their victim. Domestic abuse is not limited to spouses and includes other relationships.
- The abuser was or is married to the victim
- The victim and the abuser cohabitated together
- A relationship through either blood, marriage, or adoption existed between the victim and abuser
- The abuser and victim were parents to a child or children
- The victim and the abuser were engaged in a sexual relationship
In Baltimore, a separate criminal offense for domestic violence does not exist. Criminal charges are based on the underlying conduct, such as assault. When the crime includes a domestic relationship, courts will consider the existing connection between the parties when determining legal consequences and sentencing.
Filing Civil Lawsuits in Baltimore for Injuries Caused by Domestic Abuse
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, there are some immediate steps you should take. Everything from restraining orders to pressing criminal charges is available to protect you from further abuse. There are also many services and counseling agencies that assist victims of domestic violence.
In addition to criminal charges, you are entitled to file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for any physical or emotional injuries you sustained. You are not required to make a choice between the two. A personal injury claim may provide some comfort as it allows you to be an active participant in the process. Furthermore, many people feel financially constrained and unable to move forward from an abusive relationship. Monetary compensation could provide the economic stability you need to live your life. Our seasoned Baltimore attorneys will assist and guide you through this difficult time.
Types of Civil Claims Filed Against Domestic Abusers in Baltimore
In a typical personal injury lawsuit, the injured party must prove that the defendant acted negligently. When the injury is the result of assault or the purposeful infliction of emotional harm, the standard is not the same. When a person is a victim of domestic abuse, an international tort claim is generally pursued.
An intentional tort is a purposeful action resulting in harm and liability. For example, if you were injured by a construction worker who dropped their hammer, you would have to establish that the worker’s conduct was negligent under the circumstances to prevail in an ordinary personal injury lawsuit. However, if the worker deliberately struck you, then negligence is no longer required. International torts can arise from criminal conduct.
Moreover, domestic abuse is rarely limited to one incident and is usually a string of ongoing conduct resulting in cumulative harm. The emotional component is also essential when preparing a civil claim for domestic violence injuries. Often, the emotional impact and damage is much more significant than the physical harm. Our attorneys will thoroughly prepare your case, using police reports, if any, medical records, eyewitness testimony, and expert opinions to establish the extent of physical and mental harm you endured.
Common Conduct that Leads to Domestic Abuse in Baltimore
Domestic abuse is not limited to spouses and it is not limited to hitting or physical attacks. Abuse can occur in a variety of ways, resulting in both emotional and bodily harm, in some severe cases, death. Very often, the conduct that constitutes domestic abuse is also criminal.
- Physical assault, including punching, smacking, hitting, or any conduct that causes bodily injury
- Intimidating through threats of physical violence or other conduct
- Purposefully separating a victim from their family, friends or social groups
- Prolonged mental abuse to frighten or control
- Threatening to harm or take any children
- Destroying personal property
- Acts of harassment or public humiliation
- Refusing access to resources such as credit cards or bank accounts
- Rape or unwanted physical contact of any kind
Types of Damages Available to Baltimore Victims of Domestic Violence
If you are successful in a personal injury claim for injuries sustained due to domestic abuse, there are different types of damages resulting in compensation.
- Economic damages include any medical costs you have incurred, lost wages, expenses for any required physical or psychological therapy, or costs to replace or repair damaged property
- Non-economic damages include compensation for mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation and fear, and pain and suffering
- Under certain circumstances, you may be awarded punitive damages, which are meant to punish especially heinous conduct
Call Our Baltimore Attorney for Injured Victims of Domestic Abuse for a Free, Confidential Consultation
It is difficult to put a price on the toll domestic abuse takes on an individual. However, monetary compensation could make it easier for a victim to move forward. Additionally, actively participating in civil lawsuit could prove empowering and cathartic. Our empathetic Baltimore attorney for injured victims of domestic abuse will diligently fight with you to obtain justice. Call the Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.