Can I sue if I got into an altercation at work with a co-worker and she hit me with a coffee cup which resulted im my having to get stitches in my ear?

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Can I sue if I got into an altercation at work with a co-worker and she hit me with a coffee cup which resulted im my having to get stitches in my ear?

Asked on April 1, 2013 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the co-worker for assault and battery.  Assault is intentionally placing one in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery without consent or legal privilege.  Assault does not require any physical contact, only being placed in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery.  Battery is the physical contact.  Battery is the harmful or offensive touching of the person of another without consent or legal privilege.

Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) should include your medical bills, pain and suffering, and wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  You can also seek punitive damages against the co-worker.  Punitive damages are a substantial amount to punish the wrongful conduct of the defendant (co-worker).  Since assault and battery are intentional acts,  your employer is not liable because an employer is only liable for the negligence of an employee which occurs in the course and scope of employment.  The co-worker's action was intentional and was outside the course and scope of employment.  You will need to file your lawsuit for assault and battery against the co-worker prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

Assault and battery are both civil (lawsuit) and criminal.  The criminal case is separate from the civil case.


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