If I was assaulted over the weekend what are my options?

UPDATED: Aug 2, 2011

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If I was assaulted over the weekend what are my options?

I was attacked by a member of a local motorcycle gang. I was in no argument at all with this guy and was hit unprovoked. The guy has been arrested and is facing charges on 3 counts of battery. Battery, battery in public place and battery to a person with a physical disability. I’m legally blind. I want to know what my options are as far as getting my medical bills included in the prosecution? Does this happen automatically with the criminal case and if not, what do I need to do to get that process started?

Asked on August 2, 2011 Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can't get medical bills from the criminal prosecution, though you may sue for them.

The criminal justice system and the civil system are separate. The criminal system protects society's interests by enforcing the law, punishing criminals, etc. It is not designed to compensate the victim of assault. Once in a while, restitution of the victims is imposed as part of the punishment, but that is typically only in property cases--e.g. when money is stolen or embezzled.

To get medical bills paid, compensaton for pain and suffering or lost wages, etc., someone needs to sue the attacker. However, since a lawsuit itself costs money, this is often not cost-effective, especially if the attacker is likely to not have assets to pay any judgment against him.

Some states or municipalities do have a fund to provide some compensation to the victims of criminal assault or other crimes--you can ask the police or prosecutor if they are aware of such and whom to contact. Good luck.

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