The man stole our atv and was talked into bringing it back by a friend. When he brought it back my husband went after him. He hit my husband who is 59 years old, knocking him out cold and causing a concussion and stitches in his head. Can we file a civil suit on him? He has yet to be arrested and he is already on probation. We don't even know this man.
I agree with Mr. Armstrong. If your husband got physcial with the man, or appeared to be getting physical with him by "going after him", then the man had the right to self defense. As long as he used only physical force - not deadly force - in response to your husband's physical force, then he should not be arrested and if he is, it is not likely to be prosecuted (although if he is on probation the theft can be used to revoke the probation even though the ATV was returned.)
If your husband "went after him" with physical force, it would be difficult to prevail in a suit for civil assault. A privilege of self defense arises in civil suits, just as it does in criminal actions. Further, if you are thinking of suing for damages relating to conversion (theft) of the ATV, you should forget about it, since the vehicle was returned. This means you have either no damage or negligible damage. Consider yourself fortunate, because this very rarely happens! Lastly, you must have a good address at which to serve this potential defendant civil process. It doesn't sound as though you have that information. If you obtain it, I would counsel against filing suit, based on the above identified factors.
You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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