Visitor Question

Assaulted by Intoxicated Hair Stylist…

Submitted By: Gloria (Dallas, Texas)

I was assaulted by my hair stylist in her person suite space in an upscale salon. The stylist has liability insurance. She demanded that I leave halfway through my appointment when I asked her if she was drunk. I left as she demanded and she followed me out of her suite and told me she wanted to punch me in the face.

I defended myself and was injured. The police came and she was ticketed. I have witnesses and there was no security. I have been contacted by an adjuster from her insurance for a statement. What do I say here? Do I have a legal case against the stylist or salon? What options do I have? Thank you.

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 Gloria,

Most people think an “assault” occurs when one person strikes another person. While physically striking another person, other than in self-defense, is an assault, an assault can also occur when a person doesn’t actually strike another person, but instead threatens that person with imminent bodily injury.

Here’s an example:

John and Jake were co workers. They didn’t like each other. One day their dislike of one another erupted and John punched Jake in the nose.

That’s an assault.

Let’s change the circumstances:

John and Jake were co workers. They didn’t like each other. One day their dislike of one another erupted. This time, rather than punching Jake in the nose, John stood face to face with Jake and said, “The next time you yell at me I’m going to punch you in the nose.”

That’s not an assault.

In this case while John threatened to punch Jake, the act of punching was not immediate, or “imminent.” Jake knew John was probably not going to punch him in the moment. Jake knew he probably had sufficient time to report John, walk away, or even change jobs.

Let’s change the circumstances again:

John and Jake were co workers. They didn’t like each other. One day their dislike of one another erupted. John and Jake were face to face. This time John had a metal pipe in his hand. John said to Jake, “I’m going to knock you out!” Jake was scared. Jake truly believed John was about to strike him with the stick.

Jake believed he had no time to escape, move away from John, or to otherwise stop the assault from occurring. Jake thought in the next moment John was going to strike him with the metal pipe and knock him unconscious.

That’s an assault.

Under the facts you present there is evidence of a physical striking.

As a result, the salon worker was apparently ticketed for a misdemeanor assault. She will have to appear in court to answer the charge.

The applicable Texas law controlling criminal assault is Chapter 22, Section 22.01(2) which reads in part, a criminal assault occurs when a person…

“…intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse;”

Unless you sustained injuries which required emergency room, hospital, or other medical treatment, your claim with the insurance company will not result in much of a settlement. Instead, the company may offer you what is generally referred to as a “nuisance” settlement.

A nuisance settlement is an amount of compensation, usually not substantial, paid to a claimant in an effort to avoid a continuing claim.

By offering a nuisance settlement, the insurance company effectively stops a claimant from calling the every day, leaving messages about how the claimant disagrees with the company’s denial of the claim, or with the amount they offered to settle, asking to speak with adjuster’s supervisor, or otherwise taking actions which tend to make the claimant a “nuisance.”

Without evidence of injuries, including medical records and bills, or receipts for related out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages, the insurance company will likely only offer a meager settlement amount meant to compensate you for your pain and suffering.

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: October 10, 2016

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