suing someone for assault

Why Suing Someone for Assault May Just Add Insult to Injury

Perhaps you heard it on television. Or maybe in casual conversation. Most likely, you heard it said at an Eagles game. Heard what? “If that guy hits me, I am going to sue”.  Well, I am here to tell you that suing someone for assault may just add insult to your injury. How so? Because you may not receive any financial recovery.  Here is why.  In legal terms, an assault or battery is an “intentional tort”.  A general, run-of-the-mill homeowner’s or motor vehicle insurance policy typically does not provide insurance coverage for someone who commits an intentional tort.  The reasoning is simple. Insurance is meant to protect an individual from a negligent or careless mistake, not for their intentional bad conduct. In other words, insurance cannot be used to encourage bad acts.

So, let’s say a drunk Redskins fan at the Eagles game punches you for yelling E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles over and over again in his ear. Then you  sue him, and win, he would most likely have to pay your damages out of his own pocket.  Chances are pretty slim that this assailant can afford to pay for your broken eye socket and ambulance ride.

An individual’s lack of insurance coverage doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to recover for your injuries.  The stadium may bear some liability for failing to prevent the assault. For example, did they serve him alcohol when he was visibly intoxicated? Did security see him exhibiting dangerous behavior? Absent some third-party also being somehow liable for the conduct of the assailant, you may be unable to recover any damages.  Now, if Donald Trump takes a swing at you, call me.  In all seriousness, contact us if you are considering suing someone for assault.


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