FBI Crime Statistics show that Miami is one of America’s most dangerous cities. In fact, Miami’s violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation. For every 100,000 people, about 1,000 violent crimes are committed. Among the violent crimes committed in Miami, theft and assault are the most reported. This is closely followed by rape, then murder.
Residents of Miami have become more vigilant in taking legal action against criminals, but not everyone understands when they have been the victim of assault and/or battery. Assault and battery can occur in any situation or place, sometimes in the subtlest of forms. Becoming a victim of assault and battery, can also lead to you becoming a victim of much worse. A Miami personal injury attorney can testify to .
Assault and Battery According to Florida Statutes
In Florida’s legal terms, assault is a threat to inflict injury from someone who can act on that threat. However, there is also what is called, “aggravated assault” where the assailant has a weapon which is used to threaten the victim. This means that if the assailant threatens you while holding you at knifepoint, but does not explicitly use the knife, it can be considered as aggravated assault.
Battery, however, is the intentional infliction of injury on another person. Similarly, there is also what is called, “aggravated battery” where the assailant uses a weapon to inflict injury on another person. However, battery can also take many forms. The simple act of being pushed while walking down the street can be considered as battery. Rape and molestation can also be a form of battery.
It’s Not As Easy As That
The fine line between assault and battery is a thin one and can often be difficult to determine what constitutes the former or the latter. Talking to a Miami personal injury attorney can help you understand these distinctions much clearer. For example, battery can involve direct or indirect contact.
Indirect contact can involve threats with an attempt to injure, such as throwing a rock. This is often mistaken as assault. On the other hand, direct contact involves explicit violent actions on the victim. This can involve kicking, punching, slapping, and all other actions that can cause extreme injury.
Navigating the legal aspects can be confusing, which is why many victims make it to the reporting stage, but don’t take legal action. Having the proper legal counsel can help you identify which path is the best one to take. You can call our Miami personal injury law firm to evaluate how strong your claims are before you decide how to best present your case. If you want to make the process easier for both you and your personal injury attorney, there are still a few things you should know.
What You Need To Know
Assault and battery may differ from each other, but both can be brought under Florida’s Criminal Court, as well as the Civil Court. However, criminal cases carry criminal sanctions. This means the individual accused of assault and/or battery can be penalized for their actions and sent to jail by the court. You can also file a civil or personal injury suit to recover financial compensation from the injuries that the assailant caused.
However, it is important to understand that each case will be considered separate. The outcome of either case will not determine the outcome of the other. This means that it is possible for the assailant to be found not-guilty in the criminal suit; yet, be found guilty in the civil suit and required to provide financial compensation. You can talk to a personal injury lawyer in Miami to better understand this process.
Take These Into Consideration
Every case is unique, but there are certain things that you should take into consideration when making your claim. It is these things that will help you understand how to take proper legal action when you and your personal injury attorney state your case:
Keep in mind that actions under the scope of both assault and battery are always intentional. If the action committed towards you was unintended or involuntarily, it is not considered assault and battery. Intent is the essential element. In other words, there should have been an explicit intent to harm you.
Committing assault and battery as a form of defense is the common argument to justify the act. Familiarizing yourself with them will help you understand the actions of the assailant and your claim.
- Consent — This is typically raised if the events involved a mutual combat situation. But this is restricted to when an act exceeds the scope of the given consent. A common scenario is in football, where aggressive physical contact is a natural part of the game. But going beyond the regulated actions permitted in the sport is a violation of consent.
- Self-Defense — When put in a fight-or-flight situation, generally, a person may use whatever degree of force is reasonably necessary to protect themselves from harm. However, if the person initiated the fight, he cannot claim that it was an act of self-defense. This is unless the opponent responded with a greater and more violent degree of force. This defense is usually determined by a jury. However, factors such as age, size, and strength of the parties are also taken into consideration.
- Defense of Others — Acting in the aid of another person in distress is a valid defense, providing that the supposed assailant is without fault. However, the defender’s right to claim defense of others will depend whether the person being protected also has a claim of self-defense. This can be asserted if the defender reasonably believed that the party was in desperate need of aid.
- Defense of Property — Use of force to protect one’s property is a reasonable claim. However, there is greater privilege placed on self-defense because the integrity of a human being is considered more important than one’s property. Due to this, the use of deadly force to protect one’s property is usually not permitted. However, it may be justified if it was an act in defense against a felony.
- Performance of Duty and Authority — Use of force when it becomes necessary during performing a duty is a reasonable claim. Under this scope are police officers and even night club bouncers. Teachers may also use force as a disciplinary measure, provided they do not exceed the scope of their authority. If an action is considered disruptive or excessive, however, court officers may order the person’s removal from duty.
A plaintiff is entitled to compensatory damages for injuries caused by the assailant. The scope of compensation is as follows:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Compensation awards vary, but even if you were not physically injured, it is still possible to receive compensation. Punitive damages may also be awarded to further punish the assailant and initiate reform. This is to prevent the assailant from committing similar actions in the future. To identify more clearly what compensation you can get from your claim, you can approach a personal injury lawyer in Miami.
Why You Need A Personal Injury Lawyer
Becoming a victim of assault and/or battery is a traumatizing and a difficult experience to overcome. Protecting yourself through the law can ensure that you will achieve the justice you deserve, and get you compensated for your pain. Knowing and proving the value of your claim is only as good as your legal counsel. If you or one of your loved ones have recently become a victim of assault and/or battery, find a personal injury attorney in Miami to guide you through this process.