Voted Best Personal Injury Law Firm By Georgia Lawyers
Rome, GA Assault Lawyer
Matt Wetherington with Wetherington Law Firm,P.C. is the hardest working attorney I have ever worked with. He went above and beyond our expectations. Calls and emails are returned promptly and by Mr. Wetherington himself.
5 Stars is nowhere near enough to rate how awesome Matt and his colleagues were. They took my case even when I didn’t think there was anything we could do. I was in a bad situation at the time and Matt, Robert, and Sarah were there for me every step of the way.
I’m so grateful to Ben Levy and everything he did for me. He was truly dedicated to helping my case. Throughout the process, Ben was very thoughtful, responsive, organized, and made sure I was fully informed along the way.
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Assault in Rome, GA, can spring from many things like disagreements, hurtful words, or even misunderstandings. When someone gets assaulted, it’s more than just the physical hurt; it can leave deep emotional scars too. Dealing with this pain isn’t easy, and it’s fair to get help. Under Georgia’s law O.C.G.A. § 16-5-20, assault happens when someone feels a strong threat of getting hurt or actually gets hurt by another person.
Victims of assault have the right to ask for compensation, which means they can get money to cover their medical bills, lost wages, and pain. It’s not just about the attackers being punished; it’s also making sure that the person hurt gets what they need to heal. Knowing these laws is a big deal, and having someone who understands them is even bigger.
At Wetherington Law Firm, we’re experts in helping folks in Rome, GA, when bad things happen like assault. We believe you deserve someone who will fight for you and make sure you’re taken care of. We look into your story, gather what’s needed, and talk it out to get you that compensation. You’re not alone; give us a call and let’s set things right together.
Understanding Assault Law in Rome, Georgia
In Rome, Georgia, assault law is taken very seriously. Understanding it is the first step towards protecting your rights if you’re ever in such a tough situation. Assault, as defined by the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 16-5-20, is an act that either attempts to cause or actually causes physical harm to another person, or an act that instills a reasonable fear of immediate violent injury in another person.
Georgia law differentiates between simple assault and aggravated assault, based on the intent and severity of the threat or injury. Simple assault could be as basic as threatening someone in a way that makes them scared for their safety. On the other hand, if a weapon’s involved or the assault is likely to seriously hurt someone, it can be considered aggravated assault, as per O.C.G.A. § 16-5-21, which is a more severe offense.
Assault charges aren’t just about the criminal side of things. If you’re the victim, you also have the option to file a civil lawsuit for damages caused by the assault. This means you can receive financial help for things like your medical care, lost work time, and the emotional pain the event caused. It’s a way of getting some peace of mind and support to recover from the ordeal.
Types of Assault Cases We Handle
At Wetherington Law Firm, we tackle a wide range of assault cases to aid those who have suffered at the hands of others in Rome, GA. We’re experienced in representing clients in various assault situations, ensuring they receive the justice and compensation they need to move forward. Here’s a glance at the types of assault cases our firm can help you with:
- Simple Assault: Cases involving threats of violence or minor injuries can be complex, but we’re equipped to handle these disputes and work toward favorable outcomes for our clients.
- Aggravated Assault: When an assault includes a weapon or results in serious physical injury, it’s classified as aggravated. We take these cases very seriously, striving to hold those responsible to account.
- Domestic Assault: Assaults occurring within a domestic setting, including spousal or child abuse, need careful and sensitive handling, which our team provides while protecting the rights and well-being of victims.
- Sexual Assault: We advocate for victims of unwanted and forced sexual contact, ensuring they have a voice and are heard in their quest for justice.
- Assault and Battery: Incidents where the victim is physically struck or harmed are diligently addressed, as we fight for compensation for physical and emotional damages.
- Bar Fights and Nightclub Assaults: Assaults that take place in social venues can quickly get complicated, but we’re adept at navigating these scenarios to secure our clients’ rights.
- Assault With a Deadly Weapon: Specializing in cases where assailants have used weapons to harm others, we provide an aggressive legal approach to attain rightful compensation.
- School Bullying and Assault: We represent young victims and their families in cases of school-related violence, working to ensure a safer future for our children.
- Workplace Assault: If you’ve been assaulted while on the job, our firm can assist in pursuing claims against the perpetrator, and, if necessary, against an employer if negligence is involved.
- Assault on Public Property: Attacks that occur in public spaces can involve additional legal nuances, which our knowledgeable team is ready to handle.
The Impact of Assault on Victims and Their Families
The impact of assault on those who suffer it and their families can be deeply distressing and long-lasting. When someone is a victim of assault, it’s not just the physical injuries that hurt. The trauma from such an experience can affect a person’s emotions, causing things like fear, anxiety, and stress. It can make everyday living hard and change how they feel about safety and trust.
For families, watching a loved one go through the pain of assault can bring feelings of anger, helplessness, and even guilt. Families often must adjust their lives to support the victim, which might mean taking time off work, helping with medical treatments, and being there emotionally. Sometimes, the victim may change a lot after the assault, needing more care or acting differently, and that can be tough on everyone.
The effect of assault may also hit the family’s wallet. Medical bills can stack up quickly. There may be less money coming in if the victim or their caretakers can’t work as much. Plus, there might be costs for things like counseling or legal help. All these pressures can add strain to a family’s way of life, testing their strength to stick together and pushing them to seek justice and compensation to help in healing and moving forward.
Steps to Take if You’ve Been a Victim of Assault
If you’ve been a victim of assault in Rome, GA, taking the right steps quickly is critical for your well-being and for any legal action you might want to pursue later. Here’s what you can do:
- Seek Safety: First thing, get to a safe place away from the attacker. Your safety is the most important.
- Call the Police: Even if you’re not sure you want to press charges, it’s important to have an official report. Call 911 or your local police department.
- Get Medical Attention: No matter how you feel, see a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries might not be obvious right away.
- Document Everything: Take notes on what happened, including details like time, place, what was said or done, and the appearance of the attacker.
- Preserve Evidence: Don’t wash your clothes or change your physical appearance. Keep any physical evidence untouched until the police can see it.
- Contact a Lawyer: Reach out to our personal injury lawyer who specializes in assault cases. We can guide you on your rights and what steps to take next.
- Support System: Lean on friends, family, or support groups to help you through this time emotionally and physically.
- Reflection: Write down your recollection of the event in detail. This is important for legal and therapeutic reasons.
What is considered assault in Georgia?
In Georgia, assault is defined under the law in two main forms: simple assault and aggravated assault.
Simple Assault (O.C.G.A. § 16-5-20): This is the attempt to commit a violent injury to another person, or an act that places another person in reasonable fear of immediately receiving a violent injury. There’s no requirement that physical contact or actual injury occurs for an act to be considered simple assault.
Aggravated Assault (O.C.G.A. § 16-5-21): This involves an assault with the intent to murder, rape, or rob; with a deadly weapon or with any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury; or without legal justification by discharging a firearm from within a motor vehicle toward a person or persons.
In general, the difference between simple and aggravated assault is the severity of the threat or harm, as well as the means by which the assault is carried out. Aggravated assault is considered a more serious crime due to the increased risk of or actual serious harm, whereas simple assault can be viewed as a misdemeanor in many cases. Each case is unique, however, and the specific circumstances will influence how the law is applied.
How do I know if I have a valid assault claim?
To know if you have a valid assault claim in Georgia, your situation must fulfill certain legal criteria for assault as defined by state law. Here’s what to consider:
- Unlawful Threat or Force: You must have experienced an unlawful threat or application of force. In the case of simple assault, this could mean someone attempted to cause a violent injury or made you afraid they would immediately do so. For aggravated assault, the use of a weapon or other means likely to cause serious injury must be present.
- Intention: The individual committing the act must have done it on purpose. Assault is an intentional act, not an accident.
- Reasonable Apprehension: You must have felt a reasonable apprehension of harm. This means that an average person in your position would have also felt threatened.
- Capability: The person who threatened or attempted to harm you must have had the ability to carry out the threat at the time it was made.
- Lack of Consent: The action must have been against your will; there was no consent given to being threatened or harmed.
- Injury or Damages: While physical injury isn’t always necessary (especially for simple assault), being able to show that you suffered damages (physical or emotional) can be critical for your claim. This might include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
- No Legal Justification: The person assaulting you must not have any legal justification for their actions, like self-defense or defense of others.
What kind of compensation can I receive for an assault claim?
In Georgia, as in many other jurisdictions, victims of assault may seek compensation through a civil lawsuit. If your assault claim is successful, the types of compensation—also known as damages—you might receive can include:
- Compensatory Damages: These are intended to compensate for actual losses and harm suffered. They are often divided into two subcategories:
- Economic Damages: These cover out-of-pocket expenses related to the assault, such as:
- Medical and rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages or loss of earning capacity
- Costs of psychological counseling
- Costs related to damaged property (if applicable)
- Any other expenses incurred as a direct result of the assault
- Non-Economic Damages: These are more subjective and address non-financial losses, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Reduced quality of life
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Economic Damages: These cover out-of-pocket expenses related to the assault, such as:
- Punitive Damages: In cases where the defendant’s behavior is found to be particularly egregious, malicious, or reckless, the court might award punitive damages. These are not intended to compensate the victim but to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.
- Incidental Damages: Sometimes, you may also be awarded compensation for incidental expenses that occur as a result of the assault, such as the cost of hiring someone to do household chores if you are unable to perform them yourself due to your injuries.
Will my assault case go to trial?
Whether your assault case goes to trial depends on a variety of factors. Many assault cases are resolved before reaching trial through negotiations and settlements. Here’s how the process typically unfolds and what might influence the outcome:
- Criminal vs. Civil Proceedings: It’s important to clarify that an assault case might involve both criminal and civil proceedings. A criminal case is pursued by the state to seek punishment for the offender, while a civil case is pursued by the victim seeking monetary compensation. The two are separate, though a criminal conviction can support a civil claim.
- Settlement Discussions: Before a civil case goes to trial, there will likely be settlement negotiations. The defendant or their insurance company may offer a settlement to avoid the costs and risks of going to trial. If both sides can agree on a compensation amount that is fair and covers your damages, the case will be resolved out of court.
- Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution: Sometimes, if negotiations stall, both parties might engage in mediation or another form of dispute resolution. A neutral third party helps both sides discuss their positions and find a mutually acceptable agreement.
- Strength of the Case: If your case is strong and clearly documents liability and damages, the defendant might be more inclined to settle to avoid a likely loss at trial. Conversely, if the case is weaker or there’s significant dispute over what happened, the likelihood of going to trial might increase.
- Willingness to Settle: Both parties must be willing to compromise to some degree. Your willingness to accept a lower amount than initially sought, or the defendant’s willingness to offer a fair amount, plays a role in whether the case settles.
- Defendant’s Strategy: Some defendants or insurance companies prefer to go to trial as a strategy, hoping to win the case outright or to be ordered to pay less than what the settlement negotiations were leading to.
- Availability of Evidence and Witnesses: If there is clear evidence and reliable witnesses on your side, you might be more confident in going to trial. However, if there’s a risk that evidence could be interpreted in various ways, you may prefer the certainty of a settlement.
- Risk Tolerance: Both you and the defendant will have your own levels of risk tolerance regarding the uncertainty of a trial outcome. Some people prefer the guaranteed result of a settlement, while others are willing to gamble for the chance of a larger award from a trial.
How long do I have to file an assault claim in Georgia?
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for filing an assault claim is generally two years from the date of the incident. This timeframe applies to both simple and aggravated assault cases when you’re seeking to file a civil lawsuit for personal injury.
It’s important to note that the statute of limitations can be different for criminal charges, which are handled separately by prosecutors. The timeline for criminal charges to be filed can vary based on the specific charges and circumstances.
What should I do immediately after an assault?
If you have just experienced an assault, taking the right steps can be crucial for your safety, health, and any legal action you might pursue later. Here’s a general guide on what to do immediately after an assault:
- Ensure Safety: Get to a safe place as soon as possible. If you’re in immediate danger, leave the area and go somewhere you feel secure.
- Call the Police: As soon as you’re safe, call the police to report the assault. When the police arrive, provide as much detail as you can about the incident and the assailant. A police report will be critical if you decide to press charges or pursue a civil claim.
- Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don’t think you’ve been seriously injured, it’s essential to see a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries, including those that are internal or emotional in nature, may not be immediately apparent. A medical record will also provide important documentation should you decide to take legal action.
- Preserve Evidence: Avoid washing clothes you were wearing, bathing, or cleaning up until you have been medically examined, as you could be washing away valuable evidence. If your assault was sexual in nature, a hospital can perform a rape kit to collect evidence.
- Document Everything: Write down everything you remember about the assault, including the events leading up to it, a description of the assailant, and any other details that might be pertinent. Do this as soon as you can while the memories are fresh.
- Gather Witnesses: If there were people who saw what happened or who were with you before or after the assault, get their names and contact information. Their testimony can be very helpful in both criminal and civil proceedings.
- Follow Up on Legal Proceedings: Stay in contact with the police to know when the assailant is apprehended and to follow through with any criminal proceedings.
- Consider Counseling: Emotional trauma after an assault can be severe. It’s important to seek professional counseling to help you cope with the psychological aftermath of the assault.
- Contact an Attorney: Our personal injury or criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights and guide you through the process of any civil action you may wish to pursue. We can also advise you on how to interact with police and the legal system to best support your case.
- Support System: Reach out to friends and family for support. You don’t have to go through this alone, and having a network of support can significantly help your mental health and recovery.
How can Wetherington Law Firm help me with my assault case?
Wetherington Law Firm, like many personal injury law firms, has lawyers who are experienced in handling cases involving personal injury, including those arising from assaults. They can offer the following services to assist you with your assault case:
- Legal Consultation: They can provide an initial consultation to discuss the specifics of your case, help you understand your rights, the legal options available to you, and what you can expect throughout the legal process.
- Investigation: They can conduct a thorough investigation into the assault, collecting necessary evidence such as medical records, police reports, witness statements, surveillance footage, and any other documentation that can support your claim.
- Assess Damages: Their team can assess the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any long-term impacts the assault may have on your quality of life.
- Representation: They can represent you in all legal proceedings, ensuring that your case is presented effectively and professionally, whether in negotiations with the other party or in court.
- Negotiation: They can handle settlement negotiations on your behalf to ensure that any settlement offer fully compensates you for your injuries and losses. They will work to secure a fair and adequate settlement without the need for a trial, if possible.
- Trial: If settlement negotiations do not result in a satisfactory outcome, or if going to trial is in your best interest, experienced trial attorneys from Wetherington Law Firm can represent you in court, presenting your case to a judge or jury.
- Support and Guidance: Throughout the process, they can provide you with support and guidance, helping you navigate the emotional and legal challenges associated with your case.
- Contingency Fee: Our personal injury lawyer work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they only get paid if you win your case or achieve a settlement.
Contact Wetherington Law Firm for Your Assault Case
If you’ve been the victim of an assault and are seeking justice and compensation, the Wetherington Law Firm is here to advocate for your rights. Our experienced legal team is committed to providing you with compassionate support and vigorous representation to ensure your story is heard and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Don’t face this challenge alone. Take the first step towards recovery and empowerment by contacting us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us stand by you in this fight for justice and help you move forward from this experience.