Domestic abuse ruins lives destroy families and relationships and often results in physical injuries or emotional trauma. It is crucial that victims of domestic abuse in Pennsylvania know and understand all of their legal rights and options. Domestic abuse can be addressed through the criminal, family, and civil court systems.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to domestic abuse or violence, contact our Pennsylvania attorney for injured victims of domestic abuse. The Reiff Law Firm has years of experience representing people physically or mentally harmed in a relationship. Our compassionate staff and lawyers understand the toll domestic abuse takes on an individual and their family. We want to assist and guide you through this difficult time. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Defining Domestic Abuse and Violence in Pennsylvania
Domestic abuse encompasses a broad category of conduct between familiar relations and people who share the same household. The relationship is essential in defining domestic abuse, but it is not limited to spouses or close family members. The types of relationships where domestic abuse and violence occurs include:
- Spouse or ex-spouse
- A person who currently lives with you, or lived with you as a spouse
- Brother or sister
- Child or parent
- A family relation by blood
- A current or former intimate or sexual partner
- A person who you share a child with
Common Types of Domestic Abuse that Occurs in Pennsylvania Relationships
Domestic abuse in Pennsylvania consists of more than just physical harm. Victims of abuse suffer from a variety of harm, both physical and mental. Often, the conduct is also criminal in nature. It is not uncommon for an abused individual to realize they are suffering from abuse. In Pennsylvania, some of the most common forms of domestic abuse include the following.
- Actual physical harm, including punching hitting, kicking, slapping, and choking
- Any unwanted or uninvited sexual contact, including rape or sexual assault
- Threats of bodily harm to you, your children, or other family members
- Damaging of destroying personal property
- Threats of the destruction of personal or shared property
- Emotional or mental abuse, such as controlling behavior or harmful insults
- Restricting access to necessary resources, usually cash, bank accounts, or credit cards
Criminal Charges Related to Domestic Abuse in Pennsylvania
Domestic abuse and violence include a wide variety of conduct that is considered criminal. While Pennsylvania does not have a separate “domestic abuse” criminal charge, some of the common charges associated with domestic abuse in Pennsylvania are listed below.
- False Imprisonment
- Sexual assault
There are Options Available to Pennsylvania Victims of Domestic Abuse
Our experienced Pennsylvania attorneys are ready to assist you in you are in a domestic abuse situation. First, our office will help you file a protection from abuse (PFA) order – this is a highly recommended first step to help ensure your safety. Our domestic abuse attorney will also guide you through the process of filing criminal charges. Additionally, Pennsylvania offers victims of abuse legal addresses to correspond with their attorney, authorities, or family and friends through the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP).
Victims of Domestic Abuse Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
In addition to filing criminal charges, a victim of domestic abuse has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against their abuser. It is important to note that filing a criminal charge does not prohibit filing a personal injury claim – often, a criminal charge could provide important evidence for your civil claim. Additionally, conduct that constitutes domestic abuse usually gives rise to an intentional tort. Unlike typical personal injury lawsuits, when the claim is based on an intentional tort, the injured party does not have to establish negligence. Our seasoned Philadelphia personal injury attorney will carefully evaluate the facts of your case to determine the best way to proceed.
Damages Available in Pennsylvania to Victims of Domestic Abuse
Victims of domestic abuse are entitled to damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, these include medical expenses but are not limited to the cost to treat an injury. In some situations, a victim of domestic abuse does not have to experience actual physical harm.
The most common type of damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit is economic damages. Easy to calculate, economic damages include all the costs, expenses, and out-of-pocket payments associated with your injury or harm. While this does include medical expenses, a victim of domestic abuse could be compensated for travel expenses, the cost of physical or psychological therapy, childcare costs, and medical equipment if necessary. Compensation could also be awarded to cover lost wages or damage to personal property.
Physical injury is an essential component in a personal injury lawsuit. However, all harm is not physical. Victims of domestic abuse could be awarded compensation for non-economic damage as well. Non-economic damages are much more challenging to calculate and include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the loss of enjoyment of life. Our Pennsylvania attorneys will utilize previous case law and expert testimony to place a justified value on the harm you sustained.
Call Our Pennsylvania Attorney for Injured Victims of Domestic Abuse for a Free Consultation
Victims of domestic abuse in Pennsylvania suffer not only physically, but emotionally. The effects of abuse spread beyond the victim, usually negatively impacting their family and friends. Our experienced Pennsylvania attorney for injured victims of domestic abuse provides compassionate representation. The Reiff Law Firm has the staff, attorneys, and resources to assist victims of domestic abuse using the criminal, family, and civil court systems to protect their safety and their rights. If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic abuse, contact us immediately to review your options. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.