Can you Sue Your Spouse for Injuries Caused by Domestic Abuse in Pennsylvania?
Domestic abuse strikes all types of families, no matter their race, creed, configuration, or financial standing. The damage inflicted on the victim often spreads amongst other family members. While the criminal and family court systems provide means to prosecute abusers and protect victims, there are other options available. A victim of domestic abuse who was injured by their spouse has the right to pursue a personal injury claim in civil court. Often, victims are unaware of this option. The attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm want all victims of domestic abuse in Pennsylvania to understand their legal rights and options.
Domestic Abuse in Pennsylvania
Domestic abuse or violence in Pennsylvania occurs when one family member, or intimate partner, uses threats, intimidation, or physical violence against another. No one specific “domestic abuse” criminal charge exists in Pennsylvania; rather, there are a number of offenses that are linked by the relationship of the parties involved.
Some common conduct that is considered domestic abuse in Pennsylvania include:
- Physical abuse, including hitting, slapping, kicking, pulling hair, or choking
- Forced sexual contact or any unwanted sexual or intimate touching
- Humiliating language, reveling confidential information to hurt, or jokes aimed to injury or emotionally hurt
- Intimidation or threats of physical violence or harm
- Psychological abuses, including controlling behavior, insults, or attaching self-esteem
- Restricting access to financial resources, such as bank accounts or credit cards
- Alienating spouse from their family, friends, or support network
It is important to remember that domestic abuse could involve more than spouses. Any family, intimate, or dating relationship could be the basis of domestic violence or abuse. If you believe you are the victim of abuse, no matter the relationship, contact law enforcement for protection and our Pennsylvania attorneys to review your rights.
Criminal Charges Associated with Domestic Abuse in Pennsylvania
Domestic abuse often consists of physical violence but is far from limited to bodily harm. Abuse can occur through the restriction of financial resources, verbal harassment, unwanted sexual touching, or intimidation through threats to the person, the children, or property. Some of the criminal charges associated with domestic abuse are listed below.
- Sexual assault
Options and Protections Available to Victims of Domestic Abuse in Pennsylvania
Victims of domestic abuse have options and resources available in Pennsylvania. The Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) provides victims of domestic violence legal addresses to use instead of their physical address – allowing the victim to receive correspondence without fear. Additionally, protection from abuse (PFA) orders are available to prohibit any contact from the abusive individual, including texts or emails. Finally, a victim of abuse could file criminal charges against their spouse.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit for Domestic Abuse in Pennsylvania
Despite the options available, many victims of domestic abuse are unsure of what to do. Often, their choices are dictated by what they perceive as financial limitations. Our law office believes it is crucial to utilize the criminal and family court system to protect yourself and any other family members that might be in danger. However, we also recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit against your abuser for any physical or emotional damage you sustained.
Victims of domestic abuse in Pennsylvania do not have to choose between criminal prosecution and a civil personal injury claim – both are available. Often, a criminal charge will prove helpful in a civil court case.
The criminal and family court can provide a victim of domestic abuse peace of mind and safety. However, they do not provide compensation for an injured victim’s physical harm and emotional suffering. Through filing a personal injury claim in civil court, a victim of domestic violence could be awarded the monetary means necessary to move forward with their lives. Additionally, a victim becomes an active participant in their civil case. This often provides a sense of control and empowerment during a tragic and terrible situation. The compassionate attorneys and staff at the Reiff Law Firm are dedicated to helping individuals cope with a difficult time.
Types of Damages Available to Victims of Domestic Abuse in Pennsylvania
Monetary compensation in a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania is not limited to medical expenses. A victim of domestic abuse has several types of compensation that could be awarded through a personal injury claim.
The easiest to understand damages available in Pennsylvania are economic damages. These are calculable financial costs and expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, the cost of physical or psychological therapy, and any expense necessary to replace or repair damaged property. Our attorneys will carefully evaluate the entirety of the expenses incurred to determine a just amount.
In addition to reimbursement for any financial expenses, a victim of domestic abuse is entitled to non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are much more challenging to quantify, but they could be significant. Using expert witnesses, medical reports, and case law, our Pennsylvania lawyers will evaluate your pain and suffering, emotional distress, psychological harm, humiliation, and other potential non-economic harm to provide a fair figure to present the court and jury.
Victims of Domestic Abuse in Pennsylvania Have Options, Call our Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
Domestic abuse remains a serious problem in Pennsylvania and across the nation. The damage to the family is often more than just physical harm. Victims of domestic abuse in Pennsylvania suffer emotional trauma and are often faced with financial hardships. The attorneys and staff at the Reiff Law Firm urge anyone who is experiencing domestic violence or abuse, in any manner, to seek protection through the criminal and family court systems. Our compassionate Pennsylvania attorneys for domestic abuse are also here to provide assistance and representation for victims who want to file a personal injury lawsuit against their abusive spouse. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.