Violence should never be the answer to a confrontation, but the reality is that it happens. Whether it was provoked or not, assault can have dangerous consequences for all involved.
Even if you’ve never been in a physical conflict before, you’ve likely seen one or been tempted to step in to stop one. This could be bad news because it often results in injuries for you as well as the victim.
Learn how to protect yourself if you are the victim of an unprovoked assault.
Understanding How Assault Claims Work in Canada
If you’ve been assaulted, whether it was in a fight or unprovoked, you can sue your opponent for any major injuries you’ve suffered. These can include loss of income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Personal injury lawsuits can also be used to seek out punitive damages. These charges are meant to punish the accused when they have done something particularly bad.
In Canada, punitive damages are awarded on a more conservative basis and are usually only given in extreme situations.
The process of suing for assault can be complicated and tricky. Let us help you navigate through the world of assault claims so that you can be better protected and compensated if you find yourself injured from an unprovoked incident.
What is Assault?
The legal definition of assault under the Canadian Criminal Code is the use of force, either directly or indirectly, against another person without their consent.
There are also various categories of assault that aggressors can be penalized for. These categories include assault with a weapon, sexual assault, aggravated assault, and verbal assault.
Assault can happen in all kinds of situations, from a drunken bar fight to a malicious incident during a sports game. Whether it was criminally aggravated or not, if you are seriously injured from a conflict you are entitled to compensation.
Get in touch with a good personal injury lawyer to make sure that you know what you’re entitled to and how you can fight for your compensation.
The Thin Line of Consent in a Conflict
When you become involved in a fist fight, you are consenting to the fight. However, you are not consenting to the damages that occur if you are harmed in that fight.
Therefore, consent is not a legal defence against assault against serious injuries from a conflict.
There is a certain degree to which you consent when you become involved in an aggressive situation. For example, when you play a sport you are consenting to the conflict that occurs within the rules of the game. If you are injured because someone did something against the rules, you did not consent.
So if you’re playing hockey, the minute you step onto the ice you are consenting to being body checked and perhaps hit with a puck. But you are not consenting to being slashed in the face with a hockey stick or stabbed with someone’s skate.
In the eyes of the Supreme Court of Canada, no one ever consents to being severely injured or even dying from a fight. In those extreme situations, consent cannot be used as a defence and the aggressor can be charged.
Sexual assault can include anything from domestic violence or rape to sexual harassment. If you are a victim of this type of assault, not only can you sue criminally, but you can sue your attacker in a civil suit for compensation for your losses.
Unfortunately, sexual assault is common. Every year, 1 in 4 women in North America, as well as 1 in 33 men, experience some type of sexual abuse.
Sexual assault can cause serious injuries or physical damage, but one of the most common types of damage it causes is mental trauma. Emotional and mental injury lasts much longer than physical injury and can have serious consequences.
It’s important to raise sexual assault claims, even if they happened years before. A good personal injury lawyer will make sure that you don’t have to keep dealing with this alone and that you get the healing and compensation you deserve.
Self defence in Canada is another tricky situation when it comes to bringing the issue to court and filing a personal injury claim.
When someone attacks you and you fight back, there’s a certain extent to which it counts as self defence. If someone hits you and you hit them back to stop the attack you are safe and can claim self defence. However, if you continue to hit that person well after they’ve stopped fighting you, it turns into assault.
So think twice before you get involved in that bar fight.
Reasonable force is the amount of force it takes for you to defend yourself against an attack. Anything that could be considered beyond necessary could get you in trouble.
Every situation is different, and the court will review whether the defender truly believed that their life was in danger. They will also take into consideration the mindset of the defender and what is realistic for that situation.
Defending Your Assault Claim
Many bar fights, domestic disputes, and violent incidents happen because one or both of the parties are under the influence of alcohol. However, the influence of alcohol does not stand up in court and will not be considered a reasonable defence.
As long as you can prove that you didn’t give consent, you applied reasonable force, or the attack was unprovoked, you could be eligible for personal injury compensation.
An assault threat can also be grounds for an assault charge. When someone threatens or attempts to apply force to another person, this can be taken to the court.
However, you have to be able to prove that the aggressor had the means and ability to carry out that threat. For example, if someone threatens to stab you, but it’s clear that they don’t have a knife or weapon, they do not have the means to carry out their threat. This would not be admissible in court as it’s unreasonable that the assault could have happened.
To sue someone for an assault threat, you also have to prove that the threat was an immediate concern. You can’t sue someone for a threat made for the future because words on their own are not enough for an assault charge.
The Criminal Penalties for Assault
Depending on the degree of the assault and the aggression of the attacker, various charges will be considered in an assault case.
The attacker, if the assault was serious enough, could be sentenced to jail time as well as a hefty fine. Some judges will also put the attacker on probation for a certain amount of time, during which they must not have contact with the victim. They are also usually required to attend anger management counselling sessions.
In minor assault cases, the court will likely issue a peace bond. This requires the attacker to “keep the peace” and display good conduct.
If you’re threatened by someone and believe that they pose a serious danger to you, your family, or your property, you can apply to have them put under a peace bond.
Contact the Best Personal Injury Lawyer if You’ve Been Assaulted
Always make sure you talk to a personal injury lawyer before you make any decisions.
At Conte & Associates, we understand how unfair and painful it is when you’re the victim of an assault you definitely didn’t ask for. We can get you the help you need to make sure you are fairly compensated.
We work with the top medical and professional experts in Ontario to make sure that your case is as strong as it can be. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.
Contact us now for a consultation.