Got in pushing match with a friend after drinking and he got hurt...
Some friends and I went to a local watering hole and after trying to convince one friend not to drive home, things got heated. He personally attacked all members of the group. We started pushing one another and he slipped and fell on some ice, splitting the back of his head open on the sidewalk.
We asked the bouncers at the bar to call an ambulance, which they reluctantly did, but were less than helpful, and only after our insisting did they provide clean ice to place on his head. Our friend went to the ER and got 17 stitches, but owes about $3000 for the ambulance ride and medical care, since he has no health insurance.
The friend threatened my life that night, and said he was going to lawyer up. The next day he forgave me and said he's not going to bring any charges. Weeks went by and now he wants to get a lawyer since the bouncers said that I was the aggressor, despite differing eye witness accounts and the fact that the bouncers weren't even there at the time he slipped.
What should I do? Wait to hear something from his lawyer, or get a lawyer myself? How much will that cost? Is there anything else I can do to protect myself? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Got in pushing match with a friend after drinking and he got hurt...":
Jeff (Manchester, NH):
At this point you really don’t need to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney. From the facts you present, it is very unlikely your "friend" will find an attorney to accept his case. This is especially so because there are too many witnesses who will testify your friend was intoxicated at the time of the event.
If your friend decides to pursue legal action on his own, he will likely find himself in small claims court. New Hampshire small claims court jurisdiction, or the maximum amount a plaintiff can sue for is $7,500.00.
If he decides to file a lawsuit there, you will be served with the lawsuit, either through certified mail or in person. If this occurs you can either retain an attorney to represent you on an hourly basis or for a sum certain, or you can defend yourself.
From the facts you present, there should be enough witnesses to prove your friend was drunk and was the aggressor. As a result, your friend will likely walk away with nothing. Just be sure you get statements from the witnesses.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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