Santa Barbara Attorney for Injured Victims of Domestic Abuse
Our law office is dedicated to providing professional and sympathetic representation to those harmed by a close relation. Our Santa Barbara attorney for injured victims of domestic abuse will offer assistance and guidance during this difficult time. Call the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, at (805) 643-5555 for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your rights and options.
The Definition of Domestic Abuse in Santa Barbara, CA
State law addresses domestic violence and abuse in three ways. First, domestic abuse is a felony under California Penal Code section 273.5. Any infliction of physical harm against an individual who shares a specific relationship with the abuser is subject to criminal prosecution. Domestic abuse is also addressed under family law in the California Domestic Violence Prevention Act. Victims of abuse are afforded streamlined procedures to obtain legal protections, such as restraining orders.
In addition to criminal and family law, victims of domestic abuse are permitted to file claims in civil court. Domestic abuse is considered a civil tort in Santa Barbara, CA, allowing victims to use the court system to seek monetary compensation for their physical injuries and emotional distress.
Types of Relationships Subject to Domestic Abuse Lawsuits in Santa Barbara
California explicitly defines the types of relationships that can result in both criminal and civil domestic abuse litigation. Domestic violence is not limited to physical harm between spouses and includes the types of relationships that follow.
- The victim is married to, or was married to, the abuser
- The parties cohabitate or did cohabitate
- The parties share a child or children together
- The victim is currently or was once involved with the abuser in a dating or sexual relationship
Filing a Civil Lawsuit for Injured Victims of Domestic Abuse in Santa Barbara, CA
The elements that must be established when filing a lawsuit for domestic abuse are listed under California Civil Code section 1708.6. Our experienced Santa Barbara lawyers will have to demonstrate that the following factors exist.
- The victim must have suffered an injury as a result of the abuse
- The abuse was intentionally inflicted
- The abuse was the proximate, or legal, cause of the injury
- The statute of limitations has not passed for your claim
When determining if you have suffered abuse and should file a civil lawsuit, it is vital to understand that Santa Barbara law does not limit the definition of abuse to physical harm. The term is broadly defined and includes conduct that not only results in bodily damage, but that also causes fear or emotional distress. Conduct that can give rise to a domestic abuse civil claim includes:
- Assault, such as hitting, kicking, or choking
- Unwanted touching or sexual assault
- Intimidation, threats, or harassment
- Destruction of personal property
- Using the internet, mail, or phone to continue unwanted contact
- Conduct that disturbs your peace of mind or that of your family members
What Compensation Can Injured Victims of Domestic Abuse Recover in Santa Barbara, CA?
Victims of domestic abuse in Santa Barbara are entitled to legal remedies through the court system. The most common compensation awarded is for quantifiable damages such as medical costs; expenses for physical, occupational, or psychological therapies; lost wages; and other economic losses. In addition to these damages, Santa Barbara victims of abuse might obtain monetary compensation for pain and suffering. While difficult to calculate, harm such as anxiety, emotional distress, and humiliation result might result in recoverable damages as well.
Depending on the severity of the abuse or the conduct of your abuser, punitive damages might also be available. While not awarded by the court in every case, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for particularly grievous actions. When an abuser’s conduct constitutes a willful and unreasonable disregard for the safety and rights of others, the court could see fit to award these additional damages. While also unlikely, there are instances where a court will award a victim reasonable attorney fees and associated court costs, too.
Monetary compensation is not the only relief available to victims of domestic abuse. The court could issue injunctive relief to help protect the victim. Injunctive relief is a court order that requires a defendant to stop a specified action. For example, in a domestic abuse case where the victim was regularly stalked online, the court could order the defendant to cease any electronic contact with the victim. Our Santa Barbara lawyer for injured victims of domestic abuse will thoroughly review the facts of your situation to determine if a request for injunctive relief should be made.
Call Our Santa Barbara Attorney for Injured Victims of Domestic Abuse for a Free Consultation
Victims of domestic violence in Santa Barbara have options that are not limited to the criminal justice system. It is also not necessary to choose one option over the other; a victim can file criminal charges while pursuing legal remedies in civil court. In addition to the monetary compensation available through a personal injury lawsuit, many victims feel a sense of empowerment when they take an active role in the legal process. Our Santa Barbara attorney for injured victims of domestic abuse will offer professional and empathic assistance, allowing you to take whatever role you are comfortable with. Call the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, at (805) 643-5555 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a Santa Barbara personal injury lawyer to discuss the legal remedies available to you.