Understanding Your Rights: Domestic Violence Civil Claims FAQ

Explore your options for initiating civil action against individuals who have inflicted harm upon you.

Can I Take Civil Action Against Someone Who Has Abused Me?

Yes, it may be possible. Civil claims often follow when an individual has been harmed by another, which is typically referred to as a "tort." If you have suffered such an injury, you might have the right to pursue damages from the person responsible through a civil lawsuit. While certain acts of domestic violence are criminal offenses, such as assault or battery, they can also fall under the category of torts, thereby opening the door to civil remedies as well. A notable instance of this is the Goldman v. Simpson case, where O.J. Simpson, despite being acquitted in criminal court, was held financially accountable in a civil trial for the wrongful death of Ron Goldman, as brought by Goldman's family.

Historically, legal doctrines could prevent family members from filing lawsuits against one another, with the rationale that such actions could contribute to the disintegration of familial bonds. However, present-day legislative practices in numerous states recognize that if family members commit tortious acts against each other, the family dynamic might already be compromised. Consequently, these legal barriers have been lifted, and family members are now more often permitted to take legal action against one another. This means that spouses have the opportunity to sue one another for torts, either while married or subsequent to a separation.

While there are still a handful of states that maintain restrictions against family members suing each other for such actions, exceptions can be carved out for intentional torts—deliberate actions that inflict harm. Acts that fall under the umbrella of domestic violence—including assault, battery, and psychological abuse—are generally classified as intentional torts, thus potentially enabling the pursuit of civil litigation.

For more detailed information about your rights and options for a civil claim in cases of domestic violence, you are encouraged to reach out to William Weinberg at (949) 474-8008 for a free consultation. Our dedicated team is committed to guiding you through the legal process with compassion and insight.

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