Domestic Abuse: Suing Your Abuser

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Seeking Help From A Family Law Attorney

My name is Juliette Meeks and welcome to my blog about family law. A few months ago, I was having some family issues that required me to seek the help of an attorney. I had never needed an attorney before and I was a bit apprehensive at first to schedule a consultation. Once I did, my attorney put my fears to rest very quickly. The attorney outlined my options and answered all of my questions very thoroughly. My legal matter was settled quickly and I am thankful that I decided to seek the help of an attorney. If you need a family attorney to assist you with legal matters, you should schedule a consultation right away. In this blog, you'll learn what to expect during your first visit and all of the important questions you should ask.

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Domestic Abuse: Suing Your Abuser

28 September 2016
 Categories: Law, Blog


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.

Civil Court

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.

Family Members

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.

Penalties

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.