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Suing for compensation for assault (legal information)

יהודה אלחרר
יהודה אלחרר

Alexander P Gutterman

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What is the right way to file a suit for compensation for assault? Once the assailants have been convicted in a criminal case, a fast-track “deriving suit” can be filed for compensation, which can reach tens or hundreds of thousands of shekels. This track can be used when the assault and injury are already considered as proven facts. Contact us for assistance.

Recently there has been an increase in violent incidents in Israel. Many citizens face the threat of physical assault in places such as gas stations, parking lots, schools, sporting events and in public space in general. It is important to know how to deal with incidents of assault from a legal standpoint. This important article will provide information on the different legal tracks available in such cases, explained by an expert in tort law and in representing victims of felonies.

Our law offices, with branches located in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, specialize in tort law and in representing crime victims in civil lawsuits. We provide our clients with comprehensive legal services and assist in protecting their rights as crime victims. Our attorneys have extensive experience in representing crime victims at all levels of the justice system.

Compensation for assault

Suing for compensation for assault – there is more than one way to do it

Mr. A. was walking alone one evening in his home city when he was assaulted by Mr. B, who was drunk. As a result of injuries suffered in the assault, Mr. A was left partially handicapped for life. Mr. B. was charged with a felony. Following a prolonged court case, he was convicted and sentenced to prison, as well as being required to compensate Mr. A. with the symbolic sum of 10,000 NIS.

The incident described above, which is based on a case represented by our office, is just one of many. In recent years there has been a worrying increase in violent incidents in Israel. Almost every day we hear of brawls or fights which end in people getting severely injured.

Many people are unaware of the fact that filing a complaint with the police and pressing charges against the assailants is just one way to receive compensation as a victim of assault. In the incident described above, Mr. A. did not exhaust his ability to receive compensation for the injuries he suffered. Mr. A. can sue for damages, potentially leading to a large compensation of hundreds of thousands of shekels or more. Additionally, he can receive disability payments from the National Insurance Institute. How can you sue for compensation as a victim of assault? We explain below.

Suing for compensation for assault after the criminal trial

Filing a complaint with the police following an act of violence can initiate criminal proceedings for assault. If such proceedings take place, Mr. A., as the crime victim, will not be a party in the case. Although the crime victim does hold certain rights in the proceedings, by virtue of the Crime Victims’ Rights Law, he will have no influence over the question of conviction in the criminal trial, nor over the amount of compensation ruled by the court. It is important to know that the size of the compensation ruled in such trials is limited, and in many cases, it does not cover the cost of the damages incurred. However, as we mentioned earlier, this is not the end of the road for crime victims.

Alongside the criminal trial, there are two tracks for filing a civil tort lawsuit for assault. The first track is the regular civil lawsuit track, based on the Tort Order. This track may take a long time, due to the need to prove that the assailant did in fact carry out the assault. Because of the difficulty involved in such lawsuits and the prolonged wait time until receiving compensation, there is another option of filing a fast-tracked lawsuit called a “deriving lawsuit”. This lawsuit is filed after the criminal conviction. It is based on the Courts Law and is filed in the same court which convicted the assailants. The main advantage of this procedure is that the act of assault need not be proven anew and is instead regarded as incontrovertible evidence. This procedure makes it possible to sue for compensation reaching hundreds of thousands of shekels or more.

Example of a court ruling

In 2008 the Jerusalem District Court ruled that two Palestinians had to pay compensation of about 290,000 NIS for assaulting a Haredi man who was walking in Jerusalem after praying at the Western Wall, causing him severe bodily injury. The criminal trial ended in the two being convicted and sentenced to prison, in addition to having to compensate the crime victim with 10,000 NIS. In the follow up lawsuit, the court ruled that the claimant was entitled to compensation for, among other things, loss of income due to injury, loss of potential pension deposits, and the pain and suffering he endured. This case illustrates that the amount of compensation crime victims receive from rulings in criminal trials is not necessarily all the compensation they can receive for the injuries they have suffered. In such cases, it is important to thoroughly check what the crime victim may be entitled to, and it is recommended to consult a lawyer who specializes in the field.

Suing for compensation for assault – contact an attorney who specializes in tort law and in exercising crime victims’ rights

This article discussed the subject of entitlement to compensation for assault, whether by filing a trailing lawsuit following criminal proceedings or by filing a separate civil lawsuit. If you wish to clarify your rights as a crime victim and how you can sue for monetary compensation, we will be happy to help. Contact our law offices, in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, for legal consultation and assistance. We are experts in providing legal services to crime victims and representing them in the various levels of the court system.

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