Legal Question in Personal Injury in Texas

An adult female slapped me (I'm a male) and I want to sue her in small claims civil court instead of pressing criminal assault and battery charges. If I win I want her to pay $400 or so dollars to a local charity for abused animals or women's shelter instead of paying me any money. Would this be possible or frowned upon by the court?

Asked on 11/11/12, 10:20 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Fran Brochstein Attorney & Mediator
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You are mixing apples and oranges.

Criminal matters are handled by the District Attorney's office in your county and the DA's office represents the citizens of the county. They do not represent you individually. You would be called as a witness in the case. These cases take a long time & she might be looking at a fine and/or jail time if found guilty.

In a civil case, you would sue her personally. You must show what damage occurred that you want to be compensated for. In the above matter, you do not state how you were "harmed" by her slapping you. For example, if you lost a tooth then you could sue her for the cost of going to the dentist and the time that you lost from your job. You would have to have written proof of these damages in order to be compensated for these losses.

What you do with the money after you win, is irrelevant to the Judge. The Judge does not care of you donate it to a charity or you burn it.

If you win in small claims court, you receive a "judgment". It is a piece of paper. You then have to take the piece of paper and convert it into money. You don't automatically receive money from the "loser" of the lawsuit on the day of trial. If the "loser" does not have any money, then you win but you might never collect on your judgment. (I won a judgment against a person and I have never collected my money -- and I'm an attorney!)

You might want to talk to an attorney that handles small claims court cases. Unfortunately, not many attorneys handle these type of cases because they take up a lot of time and there is not much money to be made in these cases.

Lastly, many small claim court cases can be then appealed to a higher court so even if she loses she can immediately appeal the case and you then have to take the case to "real" court that uses real rules of evidence. If that happens, I strongly urge you to retain the services of an attorney. (That will cost a lot more than $400!) Good luck!

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Answered on 11/12/12, 2:12 pm

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