Acts of violence cause approximately 14 percent of spinal cord injuries in the US, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. This figure puts assault as third on the list of causes, behind vehicular accidents and falls. Assault with a blunt object, gun shots, being pushed down, or receiving a wound that penetrates the spinal cord can all lead to severe injuries.
No matter what the specific cause, a victim who suffers a spinal cord injury due to assault is in a different category that a person whose injury is the result of negligence: The victim can actually pursue criminal charges against the offender. Plus, he or she can still sue to recover damages, including medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost wages. The attorneys at Cohen, Placitella, & Roth, P.C. in Philadelphia aggressively pursue those responsible when intentional or reckless behavior is involved.
Civil v. Criminal Case Involving Assault
It’s against the law to assault another person, so you may bring criminal charges against the offender. Depending on the nature of the crime, the punishment could be jail time and/or a fine. Assault also gives rise to a civil case where you can sue for damages because it’s an intentional “tort,” the legal term for wrongdoing. When an assault causes spinal cord injuries, the victim can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Establishing Liability for Assault
Unlike cases grounded in negligence, it’s not necessary to prove that an assaulter had a certain duty of care and breached that duty. Instead, there are two main elements to establish liability for assault that results in spinal cord injury:
- The offender intentionally performed some action that caused a victim to anticipate harm; and
- The offender actually did cause a reasonable apprehension of immediate harm on the part of the victim.
Note that the offender does not need to make physical contact with you to be liable for assault; the mere apprehension of harm is sufficient to make a claim.
Examples of Assault Causing Spinal Cord Injuries
Any act of violence that leads to spinal cord injuries could give a victim grounds to sue for the intentional tort of assault in a civil case, including:
- Striking the victim with a blunt object;
- Shooting the victim with a firearm; and
- Pushing or shoving the victim, resulting in a fall that leads to spinal cord injury.
Trust a Philadelphia Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer with Your Case
Suffering a spinal cord injury in an assault can be devastating, resulting in severe pain, emotional turmoil, lost wages, and other horrible consequences. An experienced attorney can assist you in obtaining compensation for these losses by pursuing all legal remedies available under Pennsylvania law. If you have questions or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact Cohen, Placitella, & Roth, P.C. Attorneys at Law. Our spinal cord injury lawyers have years of experience representing clients and we can tell you more about your options.