Hit in the face with a glass bottle...

by Edward
(Phoenix, AZ)

I was holding a seat for my partner as he grabbed food at a taco stand, when some guy asked to rest his drink at my table. I said sure. In the process, he moved my partner's beer in a motion to sit down.

I let him know the seat was taken and he shouldn't move things that don't belong to him. He moved it again to see if that's what upset me. I told him it's not that serious, use the space and leave me be. Upset that I corrected him, he antagonized me, was mean and threatened to hit me in the face with a beer bottle.

I told him it wasn't that serious and to move on, but he stayed and was moving closer to me. I stood up, kind of calling his bluff and telling him to do something. He then took the beer bottle and hit me, and a fight broke out, which got broken up.

The bottle cut my face and left some permanent scars on my face. Is there anything I can do about this? Is this assault? I didn't throw any punches or touch him before he hit me with the bottle. Can I sue the guy? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Hit in the face with a glass bottle...":

Edward (Phoenix, AZ):

You certainly appear to have the basis of a personal injury claim against the bully. From the facts you present, he was the sole aggressor. It would have been helpful if the police had been dispatched. It appears they were not. If they had been, it's likely the bully would have been arrested for starting the fight and be charged with the criminal offense of assault.

You had a perfectly legal right to defend yourself. This is especially true because in most cases, when a fight appears imminent the person who believes he or she is going to be struck has a legal duty to retreat from the area in an effort to diffuse the situation.

But this is only true if there is adequate time for the person about to be struck to retreat. If not, the person about to be struck has a right to stand and defend himself or herself.

In your case, it appears you were an innocent victim. You do have the right to sue the bully for your damages. Damages can include the costs of medical treatment, your out-of-pocket expenses (for such items as your medications, bandages, costs of travel to and from treatment, etc.), lost wages (if applicable), and for your pain and suffering.

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,

Judge Calisi

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