Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Missouri

victim compensation

I was assaulted and the defendant pleaded ''no contest'' in court and received a sentence of probation. Since the original incident, I have received death threats in the mail as well as being attacked again by an unknown person. I now am having to leave the state so the defendant is not aware of my whereabouts. I wanted to know if it is possible for me to sue him in a civil suit for compensation. I need to fund my move away from him and I think he should be responsible for that.

Asked on 9/05/03, 11:45 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Anthony DeWitt Bartimus, Frickleton Robertson & Gorny, PC

Re: victim compensation

You could sue him in civil court, but I am not sure that would solve the problem. If you move and sue him, he will learn your whereabouts in discovery in the civil suit. He could then continue his harassment and your move would be for naught.

Another approach is to obtain an ex-parte order of protection. Having been once convicted for assault, I would think you could obtain such an order readily. This might prevent further attacks (but some attackers and stalkers simply ignore them).

Obtaining a judgment against the perpertrator might be easier in view of his conviction. Even though he pleaded no contest, his plea is in effect an admission of the conduct, and he is probably estopped from denying the conduct in the civil trial. As Mr. Herron pointed out, however, he won't have insurance coverage for the damages, and that may create a more serious problem unless he has a house or a car that you can seize and sell to pay off the damages. My guess, however, is that such an action would probably be just enough to push someone like this a little further over the edge.

Another thought: go see victim services in the courthouse and see if they can offer you some advice, support, etc.

Best of luck to you.

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Answered on 9/08/03, 9:30 am

Donald Herron Herron Law Firm

Re: victim compensation

It is possible to sue a person for assault in a civil action. One problem with a case of that nature is that there usually is no insurance coverage for intentional assaul and therefore you may need to collect your judgment from the personal assets of the defendant. You may also be entitled to punitive damages.

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Answered on 9/06/03, 10:24 am

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