If Iwas the victim of assault with a deadly weapon, how much could I file suit for in court ifI sufferedno physical injury?

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If Iwas the victim of assault with a deadly weapon, how much could I file suit for in court ifI sufferedno physical injury?

My former roommate tackled and attempted to strike me during a verbal altercation. A few minutes later, he entered the room I was in with a bottle. He broke it and waved it in my face, screaming at me. When I attempted to stand, he pushed me down with his foot and said “you can’t stand up, you fat f’ing faggot!” He then threw the bottle against a wall where it shattered. A friend witnessed the event. I incurred no costs as a result of this, other than $200 for breaking our lease early to move out. How much could I reasonably file suit for in small claims court, including punitive damages?

Asked on September 1, 2010 under Personal Injury, Minnesota

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You could sue your former roommate for assault and battery which are separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit.  Assault is placing one in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery.  Battery is the harmful or offensive touching of another without consent.  Since you were not injured, you would only receive nominal damages for assault and battery.  It is not possible to predict the specific amount.  It would be a nominal amount depending on the court's decision in the case.  In addition to the nominal amount of your damages, you can also recover court costs such as the court filing fee and process server fee.  As for punitive damages, you would not want to be limited by the amount that a Small Claims Court could award.  It would be preferable to file your lawsuit in Municipal Court or possibly Superior Court which could award larger amounts of punitive damages.  Your state may have different names for Municipal Court and Superior Court.  It is not possible to predict a specific amount of punitive damages that may be awarded.

Apart from your civil case mentioned above, you could also file criminal charges against your former roommate for assault and battery, with the police. If the police do not want to take a report or file charges, you could contact the district attorney's office to pursue the criminal charges against your former roommate.


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