Visitor Question

Attacked With a Knife…

Submitted By: Boyfriend (Montana)

My girlfriend was attacked by her sister’s husband with a knife and had to receive stitches at the hospital. This took place at the home where her sister and brother-in-law live. They reside in the house free of charge due to the generosity of the home owner.

The hospital called the police when she explained what had occurred. When the police arrived at the hospital they were informed what had happened. My girlfriend told the police she did not want to press charges (unbelievable to me). To my amazement the police responded, “then I guess we act like this never happened”. My questions are:

1. Are the police at fault in some manner?

2. Who is responsible for the emergency room/hospital bill?

I guess without court action, my girlfriend will be responsible for the bill. Her sister stated that they will pay the bill, but neither one works and just knowing these two a little, I’m certain that they will not pay the bill.

My girlfriend is in between jobs and likely not to find employment this time of year in this small town in southwestern Montana. That being said I guess the hospital will probably take out a judgement against her. So we are adding insult to injury here. What are the options? 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.


Dear Boyfriend,

Your girlfriend’s sister’s husband is liable for the injuries he inflicted upon her. With or without an arrest, if there were witnesses to the assault those witnesses will be able to testify on behalf of your girlfriend.

He is ultimately responsible for your girlfriend’s medical bills.

It would have been much better if there was a police report, and it sounds awfully strange one wasn’t made.

In the State of Montana if the police are dispatched to the scene of a reported domestic assault and upon responding are convinced domestic abuse occurred, they are supposed to make an arrest of the person they believe committed the assault.

If your girlfriend decides to file a lawsuit to recover the amount of her medical bills or more she can always subpoena the police to testify. They won’t like it but they won’t have any choice.

Another problem you may have is with the “liquidity” of the husband. That is, the amount of assets he has, including cash, stocks, bonds, or real estate. If he doesn’t have much worth, all you might be able to do is secure a “paper judgment”. That wouldn’t be worth much more than the paper it’s written on.

Learn more here: Victims of Crimes

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,


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One comment on “Attacked With a Knife…

  1. Anonymous says:

    They Police were not dispatched to the scene of the crime. They were called by the Hospital staff, who stated it was mandatory that they notify the Police. When they arrived at the Hospital, the complete incident was explained to the Police. Are they negligent in their duty?

    It would seem regardless that a request was made to not press charges by the victim, that in fact a crime was committed. This would be at least assault with a deadly weapon? Is it not their obligation to investigate and arrest?

    There were five people in all present when this incident took place: the assailant, the victim and three witnesses, one of which was the assailant’s wife. Something seems very strange to me. It looks to me like the Police may have acted in a derelict manner? Shed some light please.


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