6 Steps To Take Following An Assault in a Public Place

Question: What are the key steps available to those who are victims of an assault in a public place? LawFuel asked a Florida law firm experienced in handling such cases


No one has the right to inflict injury upon you, but sadly there are a large number of such assaults occurring in the United States and elsewhere. Statistics show that California has the highest number of aggravated assaults occurring, (at over 113,000 in 2020) followed by Texas and Florida.

So, if you ever find yourself injured by a stranger, acquaintance or any other party, it’s in your best interest to proceed through the proper legal channels posthaste.

For example, if someone assaults you in your place of business, a store, a restaurant or any other type of public space, getting justice and seeking restitution may be much easier than you think. Should you ever find yourself the victim of a public assault, the following measures can help make you whole in a timely manner.

6 Steps To Take Following An Assault in a Public Place 1

1. Get to a Safe Location 

If you believe the perpetrator will attempt to attack you again or simply don’t feel safe in your current locale, take care to get yourself to safety posthaste – especially if you’re able to move without exacerbating any existing injuries or causing further injuries.

Getting to a safe location will enable you to collect yourself, take stock of any injuries and think about what your next steps are going to be.    

2. Alert the Police 

In the wake of any assault – public or otherwise – you should alert local law enforcement immediately.

This will help put the perpetrator on the police’s radar, regardless of whether or not they remain on the scene. Furthermore, if you know the name of the responsible party or have any other personal information on them, take care to pass this on to law enforcement. 

Contacting law enforcement will also serve to ensure that a police report on the incident is written up. Should you wish to press civil or criminal charges against the perpetrator, a detailed police report can do you a world of good.  

3. Contact Emergency Services 

If you believe that any of the injuries you’ve incurred warrant professional medical attention, take care to contact emergency services.

Additionally, if you’re unclear on how serious your injuries are, it’s generally a good idea to call them for the sake of exercising maximum caution. In addition to providing you with immediate medical treatment, knowledgeable EMTs will be able to determine if any of your injuries require further professional attention and transport you to the appropriate facilities. 

4. Document Any Injuries You’ve Incurred 

Once you’ve reached a safe location and gotten in touch with the police, you’ll need to carefully take stock of any injuries you’ve incurred as a result of the assault. Provided you’re able to comfortably do so, take a few moments to photograph any injuries you come across, as photographic evidence of an assault can prove extremely helpful to both the police and any lawyers to speak with.

However, if you don’t have a phone – or any other picture-taking device – on hand, simply wait for the police and emergency services to arrive on the scene.    

5. Don’t Attempt to Engage with the Perpetrator 

In the immediate wake of an assault, tensions are likely to be running high. Additionally, due to a combination of pain, anger and adrenaline, you may be tempted to retaliate against the person who assaulted you.

However, this is a bad idea for a multitude of reasons. Not only is this liable to result in further injuries, it may create the perception that there never was an assault, but rather a fight. Needless to say, this is good for the perpetrator and bad for you. So, regardless of how infuriated you are in the aftermath of an assault, get yourself to a safe location and take the measures discussed above. 

6. Contact an Attorney 

If you’re interested in pursuing civil charges against the person who assaulted you, a good attorney can be an invaluable ally. With the right lawyer in your corner, you’ll be able to collect what you’re owed in a timely and low-stress manner.

Different states have different laws relating to assault and other criminal activity. For instance, as Clearwater personal injury lawyers our firm has dealt with specific issues relevant to Florida where assaults occur, but you need to ensure your attorney has good experience handling these cases, including the personal injury repercussions that you may have open to you.

Regardless of whether the perpetrator is someone you know or a complete stranger, being assaulted in a public space can be a frightening and stressful experience. In addition to robbing you of your dignity, such acts are liable to make you feel afraid and leave you suffering from an assortment of personal injuries.

As a general rule in most jurisdictions any person who is assaulted can defend themselves if they perceive there to be a reasonable fear of harm to themselves. The force must be commensurate with the nature of the actual threat, rather than a vast overreaction such as using lethal force.

An excessive defense may well deprive the victim of the defense of self defense and so it is important to ensure that the lawyer representing any victim of such assault is aware of these and other issues relating to any criminal case or civil claim.

Source: Catania and Catania, FL

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