Why Suing Someone for Assault May Just Add Insult to Injury

You hear it on t.v., you hear people say it in casual conversation and you have probably heard it said at an Eagles game, “If that guy hits my I am going to sue”.  Well, I am here to tell you that suing someone who assaults you may just add insult to your injury without any financial recovery.  Here is why.  An assault or battery is considered to be an “intentional tort”.  A general, run-of-the-mill homeowner’s or motor vehicle insurance policy typically does not provide insurance coverage for someone who commits an “intentional tort”.  The reasoning is simple:  insurance is meant to protect an individual from a negligent or careless mistake but not their intentional bad conduct so as not to encourage it. 

So, if the drunk Redskins fan at the Eagles game takes a swing at you for yelling E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles over and over again in his ear, and you sue him, even if you win he would most likely have to pay any monetary award out of his own pocket.  The chances that such an individual has enough money to pay for your broken eye socket and ambulance ride are probably not good.

An individual’s lack of insurance coverage does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to recover for your injuries.  The stadium may bear some liability for failing to prevent the assault from occurring, for serving him alcohol when he was visibly intoxicated or there may be other possible ways to recover.  Absent some third-party also being somehow liable for the conduct of the assailant, you may be unable to recover any damages.  Now, if Donald Trump takes a swing at you, call me.