It is a sad reality that domestic violence is a problem that affects many people all around the world. The effects of domestic abuse can be incredibly serious such as injuries, severe trauma and damage to mental health, and in the worst cases, even loss of life. There are so many cases of domestic abuse that never get reported as victims are too scared or emotionally hurt to seek help. If you have managed to take the courageous step of leaving an abusive home, it is so important that you take the right steps to move on from that time in your life and build a new future. A major part of that will be ensuring that you and your loved ones remain safe and that justice is done to the perpetrator of the abuse. In order to move on, you may be entitled to compensation for the physical, mental, and emotional injuries done to you.
Here are the steps to take to bring a lawsuit against a perpetrator of domestic abuse and get the compensation you are entitled to.
1. Make Sure You Are Safe
Before you can even consider taking legal actions against the perpetrator, you need to make sure that you and your loved ones are safe. This means getting out of the abusive home and situation and making sure that they are not able to contact you. It takes enormous bravery to report someone to the police, particularly if it is a partner or parent, but doing so will ensure that the authorities can then start to protect you. In the first instance, the police may arrest them and make sure that they are not able to hurt you while you are moving out of the home. Alternatively, the police may instruct that person to move out of the home and stay away until the case goes to court. If you decide to leave the home, go and stay with a family member or somebody else who you can trust. Cut off all lines of communication with your abuser including social media, and let the authorities deal with them.
2. Hire an Experienced Attorney
There are many benefits to hiring an attorney when you are the victim of domestic violence. They will be able to advise you about the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from further violence or repercussions. If you have suffered a personal injury as a result of the violence, you may later be able to make a claim but first, you will need to ensure that your abuser is held to account under the law. Your attorney may advise you to obtain an injunction or restraining order against the perpetrator to help protect you. There are various types of injunctions including permanent injunctions and also temporary ones which are put in place until the time of the court hearing where a judge will decide if a permanent one is needed. Filing for an injunction can be a difficult and traumatic experience so it is best to leave it up to your lawyers.
3. Prepare Your Case
For both a criminal domestic abuse case and a compensation lawsuit you will need to prepare your evidence and testimony to ensure that justice is done. Your evidence may include photos of your injuries, medical reports, police reports, testimony from yourself or witnesses, and anything else that will help to show you were the victim. Testifying in court while the perpetrator is sat in the same room can be incredibly difficult (and isn’t allowed in many states) so you can instead give testimony under oath before the trial which will then be read out in court and submitted for the record.
4. Ask Family or Friends to Testify or Give Evidence
While there are instances of domestic abuse which go unnoticed, friends and family are often aware or have suspicions about what is going on. If you have explicitly told them or they have just always suspected, their testimony can help prove the extent of the abuse you suffered and how long it was going on. It may be necessary for your loved ones and any other witnesses in the case to also obtain injunctions to protect them from violence or repercussions as a result of them giving evidence against the perpetrator. Talk this through with your attorney and see what they advise.
5. File a Claim
No matter the result of the legal proceedings you may still be able to claim compensation from the perpetrator. This may be granted automatically if they are found guilty in court, but whatever happens, you can seek more money later. There are two types of damages for which you can claim compensation; economic damages and non-economic damages. The first type of compensation covers medical bills and any damage to your property by the perpetrator. The second type is for all the pain and trauma caused by the abuse. There may be other money granted as a result of divorce or child support settlement but this is not usually settled at the same time as compensation.
6. Stay Safe and Enjoy Your Life
Once all the legal disputes have been settled and you have the money you deserve, it is time to move forward with your life and start to heal the wounds. Make sure that you remain safe and obtain any necessary future injunctions which will ensure your abuser is not able to harm you or anyone you love. Remember that you deserve to be happy and take steps to rebuild your life. Your attorneys can advise you of any legal considerations you will need to take in the future so make sure you stay in touch with them.
The effects of domestic abuse can be heartbreaking and it is so important that victims seek the help they need. When it is children who are the victims or are living in the same house as the victim, the situation can become even more difficult. Removing yourself and your family from an abusive environment takes enormous courage but it is the first and most important step towards a new life. Once you are safe, you can seek justice and financial restitution against the perpetrator and ensure that they can’t hurt you or anyone else ever again.
Posted 1 month ago by Allen Brown