Can you sue if you were assaulted on private property?

assault on private property

Yes, if you were assaulted on private property, you can sue the perpetrator in addition to their criminal charges. The point of a civil lawsuit is for you to be financially compensated for the harm you suffered in the assault.

In Missouri, it doesn’t matter where you’re assaulted – at the mall, the park, or someone’s house. If you’re a victim of a crime, you’re eligible for restitution (compensation ordered by a judge in court) and compensation through a civil lawsuit.

Keep reading to learn more about compensation for assault on private property, then call our premises liability attorneys at (866) 931-2115.

Defining Assault

You’ve probably heard the term “assault and battery” before. It’s important to understand that “assault” and “battery” are two distinct charges, although someone may be found guilty of both.

Under Missouri law, “assault” is defined as an action that puts a victim in fear of immediate injury, with the perpetrator in the position to inflict said injury. 

This is very important: Someone doesn’t have to physically hurt you to inflict assault. Even a threat could be considered assault, as long as the victim feels genuine fear that they’ll be hurt.

“Battery,” on the other hand, is when a perpetrator actually follows through and inflicts harm on someone. If you have any questions about the differences in these charges, call Langdon & Emison at (866) 931-2115.

The following are common examples of assault. Unfortunately, each of these occurs every day in Missouri, causing physical, emotional, and financial damage to victims.

Threatening to hit or kill someone.

Again, a threat must cause real fear in a victim to be considered assault. Joking about assaulting someone is not a crime, although it is in bad taste. The perpetrator must exhibit intent to hurt or kill someone. 

For example, if a young man discovers his girlfriend cheating on him and he physically threatens her after yelling at her and calling her names, that could be considered assault. In that situation, the girlfriend would justifiably be fearful for her safety.

Pointing a weapon at someone and threatening them.

This behavior could result in an “aggravated assault” charge, which is more serious than assault alone. 

To be considered aggravated assault, a deadly weapon that could cause bodily harm must be present. A “deadly weapon” isn’t just a gun or knife – a baseball bat, rope, or even a guitar aimed at someone’s head could be considered a deadly weapon.

Swinging and missing.

A perpetrator doesn’t have to actually come in physical contact with the victim to have committed assault. All it takes is for intent to be present, and when someone is swinging at you, their intent is pretty clear.

Civil Justice for Crime Victims in Missouri

The goal of a criminal case is to hold the perpetrator (defendant) accountable to the State. If found guilty, the defendant will be subject to punishment, such as a jail sentence, fines, and more.

On the other hand, civil lawsuits are designed to hold the defendant accountable to the victim. When you file a lawsuit for assault, you’re essentially showing the perpetrator that you’re in control. You have the power to hold them responsible for their actions.

Civil lawsuits are necessary and beneficial to victims, as they provide financial compensation that would be unavailable in a criminal case.  If you were assaulted on public or private property, contact our office so you can have a better idea of the compensation to which you may be entitled. 

Please call (866) 931-2115 now.