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Filing a Personal Injury Claim After an Assault in Florida

— June 17, 2024

Negotiating a settlement will likely occur, and the issue being resolved in a courtroom is possible if the offered settlement is not deemed to result in fair compensation. 

Have you suffered an assault in Florida? If yes, you may file a personal injury claim, which can be connected with physical or emotional damages. This process would be handled separately from any criminal proceedings that the other individual may be involved with in connection with the assault.

What is Assault?

Assault is defined as an “intentional, unlawful threat … to do violence” to someone else. That can be accomplished through words or physical actions. This crime is a misdemeanor of the second degree, but that specification is unrelated to a personal injury claim. In 2022, there were more than 33,000 violent crimes in the state of Florida, this included 680 assaults in the city of Fort Lauderdale alone.

It is also important to differentiate assault from battery. Under Florida law, the latter occurs when the threat is realized. 

There are a couple of things that should be proven when pursuing a personal injury claim after an assault. 

Did the other person engage in the assault intentionally? In other words, was it done with the intent to threaten you? Also, is it reasonable in a legal sense for you to experience apprehension or fear because of what happened? Those elements should both be true for your personal injury claim to experience success. 

Lastly, is there evidence of physical or emotional harm you suffered as a result of the assault? 

Types of Assault

There are two main types of assault. 

Simple assault is generally what is thought of when “assault” is referred to. 

Aggravated assault is, as its wording suggests, assault that is stepped up as far as severity is concerned. 

One common type of aggravated assault is assault with a deadly weapon. For example, if you have been threatened by someone with a gun or a knife, that would likely be defined as assault with a deadly weapon. Another main type is assault with the intent to commit a felony. An example would be an intent to commit felonious battery but being unable to. 

However, the type of assault is more so relevant to any criminal proceedings that this individual may be going through. The effect of this terminology on your personal injury claim will be indirect although still important. 

What Is a Personal Injury?

It is important to note a personal injury is something you have experienced that is connected with your body, whether physical or emotional. This is contrasted with any property damage that could have been threatened or damaged. If the latter also occurred, you could pursue a property damage claim as well. 

Statute of Limitations

Clock face; image by Age Barros, via
Clock face; image by Age Barros, via

The most important thing that you should do if you are considering filing a personal injury claim after an assault is adhere to the statute of limitations.

You have two years from the date of the assault to file it, a timeline that was reduced from four years in 2023. If you miss that deadline, it is highly likely that your case will be dismissed without even getting off the ground. 

What Goes into a Personal Injury Claim?

If you pursue a personal injury claim after an assault in Florida, you or your attorney will ensure that relevant facts and evidence have been procured as well as analyze how the assault impacted you. An examination of your medical records, including an estimate of the cost of future medical care, will likely be a pivotal step to flush out the latter factor. Also potentially important are records detailing how the assault affected your employment and financial situations. 

Negotiating a settlement will likely occur, and the issue being resolved in a courtroom is possible if the offered settlement is not deemed to result in fair compensation. 

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