Assault is actionable in both civil and criminal courts, and it can be confusing to figure out the difference. Civil assault is putting someone in fear of sustaining physical harm whereas criminal assault is following through with those actions. In a civil society, people should not have to be scared that someone they know is going to beat them up, or worse. There are penalties to pay when people assault each other. Money is a remedy for civil assault and jail time is the one for criminal assault. If you are frightened by someone who vowed to harm you, a Sacramento civil assault lawyer can take action on your behalf. Call Erkel Law, P.C. today to begin working with a trusted personal injury attorney.

Elements of Civil Assault

Civil assault is an intentional tort, which means the defendant wanted to cause apprehension or should have known that the conduct would cause it. Under the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 1301, an attorney must prove the elements of civil assault before the jury will award monetary damages. This includes:

  • The defendant intends to inflict offensive or harmful contact
  • The plaintiff (person filing the claim) has a reasonable belief that the defendant is about to harm them physically or the defendant threatens such action
  • The plaintiff has a reasonable belief that the defendant is about to act on the threat
  • The plaintiff did not go along with the defendant’s conduct
  • The plaintiff suffers harm that is substantially caused by the defendant’s actions

People who prove the elements of civil assault can recover a monetary award for economic damages that replace lost income and cover medical care, including therapy for emotional anxiety the defendant sparked. They can also recover for non-economic damages that are more difficult to calculate. These include psychological trauma and the loss of enjoyment of life. If you are accosted by someone who threatens to harm you, a Sacramento civil assault lawyer can determine whether the elements of assault are met.

Civil vs. Criminal Assault

Civil assault entails a defendant who intends to threaten a person, whether they intend to commit physical harm or not. Criminal assault involves defendants who intend to impart physical injury. Civil assaults are brought between private citizens while criminal assaults are filed by the State of California against a private citizen. Civil assaults are remedied by a monetary judgment and criminal assaults by jail or prison time.

Reach out to a Sacramento lawyer at Erkel Law, P.C. to learn more about the specific differences between criminal and civil assault and whether you have a viable compensation claim.

A Sacramento Civil Assault Attorney Battles for Justice

Although many people think civil assault is a sparring with words and nobody gets hurt, they do get hurt. When someone threatens you with harm and you believe physical injury is imminent, or you are threatened and then physically harmed, upping the charges to assault and battery, legal action is appropriate.

Civil assault is a sign of society’s ills and one way to curb it is to file a suit seeking compensation. When someone knowingly threatens to harm you and you expect they will, it is time to call a Sacramento civil assault lawyer from Erkel Law, P.C. for help.

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