Our last blog post was about Halloween, a night that celebrates everything spooky. While scary movies and haunted houses can be fun, there are sadly people who live with true fear in their everyday lives. There is nothing fun about facing the threat of violence, abuse, or other mistreatment in one's own home. Our Panama City victim's law firm cares deeply about the problem of domestic violence in our community, and we are committed to helping educate people about the issue. We can also provide legal counsel to those victims seeking money damages, often vital to moving on with an interrupted life and to paying for needed counseling, in Northern Florida's civil courts.
WMBB's news team covered a recent event aimed at spreading the message that domestic violence should not be tolerated. The candlelight vigil held at the Holley Center in Panama City brought together victims, survivors, and volunteers. Event organizers stressed that no one should accept getting beaten by someone who claims to love them. Importantly, this message went out to both men and women since violence affects both genders.
As the report noted, even with awareness campaigns working on the issue, domestic violence will still impact 1 out of every 4 women. One attendee was Barbara Chevalier, a survivor who not only battled breast cancer, but also faced an abusive husband and, more recently, a date rape. Chevalier spoke from experience and reminded victims who might be listening that batterers get worse, not better, with time. Another attendee, Destiny Young, stressed the importance of ending domestic violence and bringing attention to an important issue that often remains behind closed doors. The Salvation Army of Panama City sponsored the event. The group provides a safe environment for victims and their children, and they provide a 24/7 phone line for help and guidance at (850) 763-0706.
The first step for any victim is to get help and get out of the abusive situation. Survivors will inevitably face emotional challenges, and these can be compounded by financial concerns. In many cases, domestic violence not only gives rise to criminal liability, but also civil liability. This means a survivor can sue for damages in civil court, a right that remains even if prosecutors do not bring a criminal case. A civil domestic violence case might include claims for a number of intentional torts such as battery, assault, and psychological abuse. In some cases, a related claim for intentional infliction of domestic violence may apply. While the law once barred tort suits against spouses, this is no longer true.
A number of forms of damages can be available in a Florida civil suit for domestic violence. These can include compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. Sometimes civil courts will also include punitive damages.
Get help and get out first. When you are ready, please call our Panama City civil law firm to discuss your claim. Be aware that most intentional torts in Florida are subject to a 4-year statute of limitations. However, periods vary, so it is always best to bring suit in a timely manner.
We'd be remiss if we failed to include links to websites that provide information for victims or those who suspect someone they know is suffering due to domestic violence. Here are just a few of the many resources available:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides information on what constitutes abuse and how to get help for yourself or someone else.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a wealth of resources, including ways people can support victims and survivors of domestic abuse.