Florida Assault and Battery Claims Under the Civil System

In some instances, those who suffer injuries from an intentional act may seek financial compensation from their attackers. Under Florida law, assault and battery victims may file a civil claim against the at-fault party similar to victims of traffic accidents, trip-and-falls, or other accidents in which they suffer harm. These claims are unique in that, unlike many other civil claims, these cases involve an intentional act by the assailant. Florida courts address assault and battery as separate claims, even though they often co-occur.

Assault refers to an intentional unlawful threat to physically hurt another. The threat can stem from the threatening party’s apparent ability to act upon their actions, words, or combination. Aggravated assault tends to involve using a deadly weapon to instill fear in the victim. Deadly weapons can be any mechanism that can inflict serious bodily injury upon a victim, such as a gun, knife, taser, or similar item.

These cases hinge on the claimant’s ability to establish that the threatening party demonstrated a clear intent to inflict harm. An attorney can assist claimants in gathering evidence and preparing a compelling case that illustrates that the threatening party instilled fear. Recently, the Third District Court of Appeals issued an opinion in an appeal of a Florida civil assault claim. The relevant background explains that a couple lived together in an apartment complex when they met with the property manager to discuss renewing the lease in the primary tenant’s name. A disagreement ensued, and the plaintiffs contended that the property manager pulled out a gun and placed it on a table in front of the claimants explaining that he would be vacating their lease.

The defendants filed summary judgment motions in response to the plaintiff’s various claims. One of the relevant issues on appeal was whether the secondary tenant presented evidence that the property manager threatened her or instilled fear of imminent danger. The primary tenant’s affidavit attested that the property manager glared menacingly and pointed the gun at him. However, there is no mention of the secondary tenant during this time, other than her presence at the encounter. Further, the property manager’s testimony negated the secondary tenant’s unsworn allegations.

In Florida, an opposing party must come forward with counter-evidence if they wish to overcome the moving party’s evidence to support the claimed nonexistence of a material issue. In this case, the secondary tenant failed to present counter-evidence. The court dismissed the appeal in part and affirmed it in part.

Civil Assault and Battery Attorney in Florida

If you experienced a civil assault, contact the experienced and reputable personal injury lawyers at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada. The lawyers on our team help victims of violence obtain financial compensation in Florida. Violent acts can have long-term physical and psychological consequences on a victim and those who witness the act. Our lawyers have extensive experience pursuing personal injury claims against the threatening party. In addition to Florida assault claims, our firm handles accidents involving motor vehicles, premises liability, product liability, and medical malpractice. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.


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