Has your boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse been charged with domestic abuse? One of the most important things you can do during this difficult time is to get your own life back in order and regain any stability that was lost as a result.
How can you go about this? While one of the key ways is to seek criminal proceedings against an abuser, there is another step many fail to properly consider: civil litigation. When and why should you choose civil litigation? And where should you start? Here are some answers.
How Does Civil Law Interact with Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse cases should generally start with criminal law proceedings. Why? The victim deserves legal and physical protection first and foremost. Whatever type of abuse you have suffered — physical, mental, emotional, or even financial — must be stopped and the abuser held accountable by the law.
Criminal proceedings, though, are generally about two things: protecting the abused and punishing the abuser. Compensating the victim often can't be addressed with criminal cases. This is where civil law comes into play.
Why Do You Deserve Compensation?
If your abuser is facing criminal charges, why pursue civil litigation? Many victims of domestic abuse suffer in a variety of ways that deserve compensation. You may have medical bills, counseling, or expenses related to having to flee your home. You may even have permanent injuries or scars. Should your abuser have to pay for these? Suing them for personal injury is the best way to ensure this.
You likely have lost out in other ways too. Did you lose paying work due to injuries or emotional stress? Did you forgo any income opportunities or spend money to keep your partner from becoming abusive? Did you or your children suffer lasting emotional damage? Compensation through personal injury suits cover both explicit costs and those that are lasting but harder to quantify.
What Should You Consider First?
Of course, there is no easy answer about whether a domestic abuse victim should or should not sue for personal injury damages, but you should answer a few questions to help decide. For instance, does the abuser have financial assets that can be accessed or seized to pay your damages? If so, is it enough to make your efforts worthwhile?
In addition, consider your and your family's emotional needs during this time. A civil lawsuit may take some time and will require that you relive the traumatic experience of domestic violence. Some people find that seeking legal remedies bring a sense of closure and control to an abusive relationship while others may find it too difficult.
Where Can You Get Help to Pursue a Suit?
Do you think that a personal injury lawsuit might be worthwhile in your circumstances? Start by consulting with a personal injury attorney in your area. There, you can find help to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve and start moving forward in your life.