For many victims of domestic violence, the only court proceeding they will attend is the criminal one against their abuser, providing things get that far. However, if you have been the victim of domestic violence, you can also undertake a civil case. You may be able to collect civil damages with the help of a personal injury lawyer who is experienced with litigation.
Even if your abuser is found innocent in criminal court, you may be able to sue them in civil court, where the standard of proof is lower. In a criminal proceeding, your abuser must be found guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." In many instances, getting a jury to agree unanimously on a verdict is difficult. In contrast, most civil cases are decided by a judge who only needs to find someone at fault due to the "preponderance of the evidence." Also, if you sue someone, they are not provided with a lawyer but have to retain one themselves. Of course, you will have to engage a lawyer as well, but in most instances, pursuing your case in civil court will benefit you.
In the past, family members were not allowed to sue other family members because of the harm this would do to the household. Fortunately, most states now allow you to sue your spouse, although some, like Illinois and Illinois, still prohibit it except in certain circumstances. You will need to research your state's laws before you take action. However, a civil action is one way to help you get some justice from a system that doesn't always deliver it.
Depending on a number of factors, your abuser may receive jail time through the criminal justice system. Of course, they may simply get probation or take a mild plea deal. If you win your civil action, you may be able to receive a significant amount of money. Of course, money can't erase the trauma you have suffered, but it can help you restart your life. If your abuser is found responsible by a judge, you may receive general damages and punitive damages, provided they have some financial means. If they have little property, collecting can be difficult. However, you may get some satisfaction from their being held accountable for their actions.
If you have been abused, no court proceeding can heal the wounds, but receiving damages from a civil action can ease the burdens of daily life. Consult with a personal injury attorney and find out what options are available to you.