Fight Over a Parking Space Allegedly Leads to a Fractured Spine

A Colorado man faces assault charges after a fight over a parking space outside a bagel shop on the morning of Saturday, October 1. According to an arrest warrant issued October 4, the victim suffered a fractured spine, head injuries, and multiple abrasions and contusions. The victim presented in court that day with a U-shaped wound on his forehead. The incident made news in part because the alleged assailant had returned from Pakistan a few months earlier, where he had worked as a contractor for the CIA and was involved in a shooting incident.

Police originally arrested the man on charges of third-degree assault. When it became clear that the victim suffered a broken vertebra, authorities raised the charge to second-degree assault. As of October 5, no charges were pending against the victim for any actions in the fight. The alleged assailant admitted to hitting the victim first, but claims that the victim also hit him five times. Colorado law defines third-degree assault in part as “with criminal negligence…caus[ing] bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon” and classifies it as a class 1 misdemeanor. Second-degree assault is defined in part as “[w]ith intent to cause bodily injury to another person…caus[ing] such injury to any person by means of a deadly weapon” and classified as a class 4 felony. Reports on the incident do not indicate if police allege use of a weapon by the alleged assailant. The key difference between the two criminal charges is the required mental state of the accused, although the distinction for authorities appeared to be the extent of the victim’s injuries.

Spinal cord injuries, defined as any injury resulting from trauma, can have serious consequences for the victim. Effects range from incontinence or impaired mobility to full paralysis. Treatments for spinal cord injuries generally involved extensive rehabilitative therapy, as well as surgeries and pharmaceutical and psychological treatment. Obviously a long course of treatment becomes exceedingly expensive for the victim. While the diagnosis and treatment of spinal cord injuries has advanced over the years, severe injuries still carry little hope for full recovery. In addition to treatment and rehabilitation, victims must make substantial adjustments in their lifestyle and occupation.

A victim of a criminal assault may recover damages for injuries sustained through the tort claim known as battery, commonly paired with another tort claim as “assault and battery.” A “battery” is any unconsented physical contact that is offensive to a person and causes that person injury. To recover, a victim must show that the alleged batterer acted intentionally, meaning the person intended the result of causing harm to the victim. Even a simple touch can constitute a battery if a victim can prove damages. A civil claim for assault or battery does not require a corresponding criminal case to go forward. Damages for battery may include medical expenses, lost wages because of recovery or rehabilitation, future medical costs and lost wages, and “noneconomic” damages to compensate the victim for the pain and suffering caused by the battery.

The experienced Washington, DC accident injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen help people injured due to the negligent or illegal actions of others. For a free and confidential consultation, contact an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Kathy Wone Settles $20M Washington DC Wrongful Death Lawsuit with Three Men Linked to Her Husband’s Dupont Circle Murder, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, August 3, 2011
$10 Million Washington DC Injuries to a Minor Settlement to Go to Boy Who Sustained Catastrophic Brain Damage During Foster Care Beating, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, November 9, 2010
Paralysis Affects 1 in 50 Americans, Maryland Accident Law Blog, April 24, 2009

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