What are my rights regarding an attack on me at a movie theater?

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What are my rights regarding an attack on me at a movie theater?

I got into an altercation at a movie theater and I was stabbed in the shoulder. The theater staff did not do anything to stop it and there were 3 guys trying to beat me up; everyone just watched it happen. They did call the cops but after the guys left.

Asked on May 13, 2014 under Personal Injury, California


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your attackers are identified, you can press criminal charges against them for assault with a deadly weapon and battery.

Assault is intentionally placing someone in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery without consent or legal privilege.  Battery is the actual physical contact.  Battery is the intentional or harmful touching of the person of another without consent or legal privilege.

Assault and battery are both civil (lawsuit) and criminal offenses.  Your civil case (lawsuit) against the attackers (assuming they are identified) is separate from the criminal case.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in the civil case) would be compensation for your medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, and compensation for wage loss.  You can also seek punitive damages (a substantial amount to punish your attackers for their intentional, malicious attack).

You also have a personal injury claim against the theater because you were injured on the premises.  It may be possible to settle your premises liability claim with the theater's insurance carrier without filing a lawsuit.  When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and if applicable, documentation of wage loss.  Your personal injury claim filed with the theater's insurance carrier should include these items.

Compensation for your 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, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

If the case is settled with the theater's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the theater's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for premises liability against the theater.  If the case is NOT settled with the theater's insurance carrier, your lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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