Visitor Question

Housing employee hit me on top of the head as a prank…

Submitted By: A (USA)

I was waiting in the lobby of my HUD subsidized apartment building when an employee came up and knocked me on top of my head. When I showed bewilderment about what she was doing, she did it again. It was supposed to be a prank.

It hurt and I immediately had a headache and tightening neck muscles. Now two days later, the top of my head still hurts and is sore to even light touch, and I still have some muscle tightening in my neck, back, and intermittent forehead pain which originates from the top of my head.

This happened on a Friday afternoon. I left a phone message of the incident with a housing official the following morning, expecting to follow through on Monday. I haven’t sought medical attention yet due to it not being an emergency and medical offices closed for the weekend.

I’d like advice on how to proceed with getting medical evaluation and treatment, and having the housing authority pay for it. Paying out of pocket first would be difficult for me. Am I permitted to choose my own expert doctor? What if the doctor doesn’t accept insurance?

Does someone hitting me on the head, even with no injury intended, qualify as assault? If so, what are the implications and steps I should take?

If I file a personal injury suit, can I be evicted as part of the settlement?

Does HUD have a tenant advocate or liaison person with whom I can privately discuss these matters? I haven’t been able to find any such pertinent information on HUD’s website. Thank you for any information you can give to help me with this.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear A,

From the facts you present your injury will fall under Section 17.4 of the Federal Tort Claims Act. Section 17.4 (below) sets out the requirements for a person injured in a HUD subsidized housing residential building.

Unfortunately, to make a claim for your injury you will first need a written report from an attending physician. That report, also known as a medical narrative, must confirm the existence and nature of your injury. Without medical proof of your injury, your claim will likely fail.

Go to the local state or city owned hospital emergency room or urgent care. There an attending physician will be able to examine you at little or no cost. If the physician is able to confirm your injury, then you will be permitted to file your tort injury claim.

You can’t be evicted from a federally subsidized housing building for filing a tort injury claim.

The relevant section of the Tort Claims Act is as follows…


Administrative claim; evidence and information to be submitted.

(a) Personal injury. In support of a claim for personal injury, including pain and suffering, the claimant may be required to submit the following evidence or information:

(1) A written report by his attending physician or dentist setting forth the nature and extent of the injury, nature and extent of treatment, any degree of temporary or permanent disability, the prognosis, period of hospitalization, and any diminished earning capacity. In addition, the claimant may be required to submit to a physical or mental examination by a physician employed or designated by the Department or another Federal agency.

A copy of the report of the examining physician shall be made available to the claimant upon the claimant’s written request provided that he has, upon request, furnished the report referred to in the first sentence of this subparagraph and has made or agrees to make available to the Department any other physician’s report previously or thereafter made of the physical or mental condition which is the subject matter of his claim;

(2) Itemized bills for medical, dental, and hospital expenses incurred, or itemized receipts of payment for such expenses;

(3) If the prognosis reveals the necessity for future treatment, a statement of expected expenses for such treatment;

(4) If a claim is made for loss of time from employment, a written statement from his employer showing actual time lost from employment, whether he is a full- or part-time employee, and wages or salary actually lost;

(5) If a claim is made for loss of income and the claimant is self-employed, documentary evidence showing the amount of earnings actually lost;

(6) Any other evidence or information which may have a bearing on either the responsibility of the United States for the personal injury or the damages claimed.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: April 13, 2014

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