How should I go about filing assault/battery charges?

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How should I go about filing assault/battery charges?

I am considering pressing assault and battery charges against 1-3 people for attacking me outside of a bar this weekend. I was walking out of the bar and someone approached me from behind and said, “What’s up?” or something along those lines, then punched me in the face. I was blindsided. I tried to talk sense to the guy, and he was mad because I slept with his x-girlfriend over a year ago. He and his two friends were surrounding me, and my friend was observing the situation. I felt threatened so I swung at the guy who hit me and they all began swinging at me. One of them tried to tackle me into the street and I while I was fighting him off, I got blindsided again and I think there must have been car key rings around his fingers or something because I have a deep gash under my eye that was bleeding badly and I had to get it glued shut at the hospital. The whole side of my face is swollen, i have cuts and sores inside my mouth, my neck hurts from whiplash, my eyebrow may be fractured, can’t breath well out of my right nostril, headaches, and I have suffered emotional distress and missed work the past two days. I work with adolescents who have conduct disorder or are mentally challenged, and I could not show my face to them looking like that. It would set a bad example. Do I have a legitimate case? I know all of their names and I have taken pictures of my face. I only got hit twice and I think it was the same guy both times, but his friends were trying to hit me and one tried to tackle me. Should I file charges against 1,2 or all 3? Can I get more out of them than just the medical bill?

Asked on April 25, 2011 under Criminal Law, Mississippi

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Assault and battery are both criminal and civil.  Assault is placing one in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery.  Battery is the harmful or offensive touching of another without consent or privilege.

For the criminal case, you should contact the police and file charges for assault and battery against all three individuals.  The district attorney's office will determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to pursue a criminal case.  A conviction in a criminal case requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

For the civil case (lawsuit), when you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor, obtain your medical bills and medical reports.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injuries and will be used to determine the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Your claim would include the medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills and wage loss is straight reimbursement. 

You will need to file your lawsuit for assault and battery prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  Your lawsuit should name all three individuals as defendants.

The standard of proof in a civl case is a preponderance of the evidence which means more likely than not.  This is a lesser standard of proof than in the criminal case which as mentioned requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.


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