What to do about an assault with a car?

UPDATED: Jan 8, 2013

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What to do about an assault with a car?

Nearly a year ago, a guest at my anniversary party got into an altercation with his wife outside the restaurant. One of the waiters in the restaurant went outside to see if everything was okay, and the guest jumped into his car and hit the waiter with his car. The waiter was shook up and sustained a few scratches. The restaurant’s owner saw this along with a few other people. The restaurant owner tried to stop the car from leaving, and the driver actually accelerated toward the restaurant owner in attempt to run him over. If the restaurant owner did not jump out of the way he would have been killed. The police wasn’t called because they did not want to ruin my party. Can I help the restaurant sue this guest? Will we have a case?

Asked on January 8, 2013 under Personal Injury, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you were not injured, you may not join in the lawsuit--you have no standing to sue, since you suffered no injury and apparently were not even the target of the wrongful act. You can be a witness, or can offer moral support, but this the limit of your involvement. And if the restaurant owner was not injured, he cannot sue, either, even if he was the target of an attempted attack or assault; that is because the law only provides compensation for actual injuries or costs, not merely for what could have happened. From what you write, there is no viable lawsuit. Even the waiter does not have a worthwhile suit, since if he only suffered a few scratches, he'd spend more money on the lawsuit than he could recover. The police should have been called when the attacks happened--this was a criminal matter, not a civil one

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