Visitor Question

Minor Girl Assaulted by 2 Adult Women…

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

My 15 year old daughter was at the movie with friends. Two females, 19 & 21 approached my daughter and her friends, yelling at them for something they didn’t do. My daughter told the girls they didn’t need to talk to her friends that way.

The 21 year old then hit my daughter in the face causing her to fall. Then both girls started hitting her and pulled out large clumps of hair, caused a bruise on her leg, scratch on her arm, bruise on her right ear with some swelling, and pain in her right shoulder.

The women are scheduled to go to court in 2 1/2 weeks. Witness reports showed my daughter did nothing wrong, and was not even fighting back. If the women are found guilty, do we have grounds to sue? If so, how do we go about that? Thank you for your time!

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.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

You have grounds to sue even if the girls aren’t found guilty of the crime of assault. That’s because there are two entirely different burdens of proof in criminal and civil cases.

In a criminal case to find a person guilty of a crime the evidence must prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That is a very difficult burden to prove. Whereas in a civil case the burden of proof to show a person is responsible and liable to another for injuries sustained is, “by a preponderance of the evidence”. That is a much lower and easier burden to establish.

Although there isn’t a strict legal definition of “beyond a reasonable doubt” or “by a preponderance of the evidence,” you might consider it this way…

To prove a person is guilty of a crime it must be shown that there is a 90% or so chance the person is guilty. Whereas in a civil case the burden of proving the person is liable for injuries they caused is 51%. Though these examples are relatively crude, they help to explain the difference.

Although you won’t need proof the girls are guilty of the crimes it would help to have those criminal convictions as evidence in a civil suit.

See what happens. If the girls who assaulted your daughter had been minors at the time of the incident you might have been able to sue their parents. Unfortunately they were not.

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: March 5, 2012

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