Should my son file harassment, assault and battery charges, or a lawsuit after being beaten up at a bar? 3 Answers as of July 26, 2010

My son was beaten up at a local bar he goes to by 4 to 5 guys, and was beaten so badly he blacked out. He lost the use of his right arm for a while, and he is still having a lot of pain in his shoulder, neck, and head areas. The police are trying to get to file harassment charges, but we believe he should file assault and battery charges. She we file a lawsuit?

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Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
My preliminary question is yes based on the injuries you describe. We took a similar case to trial a few years ago and won when an inebriated bar patron jumped on my client and forced his hand into a window, bending his hand back and breaking it. My client there was unprovoked. I do not know what the story is here with 4-5 guys jumping your son. In my prior case we sued the individual only, not the bar. Unless the bar allowed these guys to come in and they had a known history of bullying, there is not much chance of the bar being liable.

The bar should have med-pay insurance though, which is insurance that will pay your son's medical bills up to a specified limit in their policy regardless of liability. I am baffled at why the police would not file battery charges under these circumstances unless there is some type of legitimate self-defense argument being made, which is the typical defense in assault and battery cases. If your son sues the assailants he can recover his medical expenses (past and future), loss of earnings, if any, pain, suffering and inconvenience damages and punitive damages.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/26/2010
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