Suing an Abuser for Money
You may have a right to seek justice from the abuser through the court system where you live. When people are injured by others, they are permitted to seek what the law refers to as “damages,” in the form of money, for such things as medical bills, lost wages or employment, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and, in some cases, to punish the abuser. Each state has its own laws on these subjects, but, for the most part, they are very similar when it comes to injuries from abuse. To do this, you will most likely need the help of a lawyer. Some lawyers will take a case like this for a “contingent fee,” which means the lawyer doesn’t get paid unless you win in court, and then s/he takes some percentage, usually a third, of whatever damages the judge orders. Sometimes the judge will order the defendant to pay for your attorney’s fees.
If your damages are below a certain amount, you may be able to file on your own in small claims court. Small claims court is a less formal type of court, and many people are able to go to small claims court without the help of an attorney.
In Louisiana, you may file in small claims court for an amount up $5,000, but it may be less depending on the parish.1 The following parishes link to small claims court forms and additional information: Baton Rouge City Court website, City of Shreveport website, Bossier City website, Caddo Parish Clerk of Court’s website, City Court of Slidell website, City Court of Hammond website, Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court’s website, Zachary City Court website, City of Minden website, Bastrop City Court website, City Court of Alexandria website, City Court of Jennings website.
If you want to sue for more than $5,000, you may need the help of a lawyer. You may talk to the clerk of court for help in filing a lawsuit in small claims court. For more information regarding filing fees and the amount you can sue for
If you need help in finding a lawyer who can take your case for a contingent fee, contact:
National Crime Victim Bar Association
2000 M Street NW, Suite 480
Washington, D.C. 20036
Lawyer Referral Line: 800-FYI-CALL
Offers information and lawyer referrals to crime victims seeking to sue offenders.
1 LA R.S. § 5202(A)