Speak Up! - View Question #598
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Question: If a kid gets beat up and they want to sue them can they?
Answer: Yes. If a kid is beat up, the person who beat them up has committed a criminal act and they are the victim of a crime. This means that the person who beats someone up could be picked up by the police, detained and criminally prosecuted. The sentence for committing a crime such as beating someone up (the crime is officially called 'assault and battery') might include jail time and even possible fines.
Being beat up is also a cause for a civil action. The civil action is called a 'tort' and is usually the type of case where someone 'sues' someone else. In a tort case, when the person who was beat up files suit, they must prove that they sustained injuries and that due to those injuries they are owed money by the person who beat them up. The court could make the person who beat them up pay money as compensatory damages, for actual costs, such as: doctor bills, band aids and pain medication. The court could also make the person who beat them up pay punitive damages. This is done to punish the person and deter them from beating anyone up in the future.
If the person who was beat up is a minor, they would be represented in a tort case by a guardian (like parents or a relative), who would bring suit to court on their behalf. In the case that a kid has no guardian, the court can even appoint a guardian (an action called 'ad litum') to represent the juvenile's interests in court.