Three Things To Note About Injury Claims Against An Abusive Spouse
Getting a restraining order or filing a criminal complaint against your abusive partner may be smart moves, but they will not compensate for the losses triggered by the abuse. The only way to get restitution is to file a personal injury lawsuit, something that some states allow. Here are three things you should know before heading down that road:
It Is Not For Protection
Contacting a personal lawyer to instigate injury claims against an abusive spouse is not the first thing to do if your partner is abusing you. First, you need to contact your local police department (or agencies that deal with domestic violence) because an injury claim will not protect you.
In fact, contacting the police first is also a good move as far as your claim/lawsuit is concerned. The police report, plus the medical reports from your treatment, is good forms of evidence when it comes to your civil lawsuit.
It May Include the Authorities as a Co-Defendant
As explained above, your first course of action (if you feel that your life is in danger) is to contact the authorities. In a few states, you have the right to sue the authorities if they fail to protect you, and the abuse continues.
Consider an example in which you have a protection order barring your spouse from coming to your house. Suppose the spouse comes to your house and threatens you, but the police leave you to "deal with it" as a family issue when you call them. In this case, you may be allowed to submit claims against the police if your spouse ends up hurting you.
Collecting the Money Will be Difficult
The first thing you should know before going down this route is that it will be difficult to collect the money if you do win the case. How does the court collect money from your spouse and give it to you and yet your spouse's money also belongs to you?
It can be easier, however, if you are also divorcing. This is because your personal injury award can be deducted from your spouse's assets during the division of property. It doesn't mean that you need to divorce your spouse for you to get compensation for the hurt he or she has caused you. However, this is what usually happens because many of those who have been abused to the point of seeking damages may not wish to continue with the marriage.