What Happens If You Hit a Disabled Person? (Answered)

what happens if you hit a disabled person

Have you ever found yourself entangled with a disabled person, resulting in an assault?

And you freeze in your track when the reality dawns on you?

No worries. I know the feeling. You’re human, and sometimes, your emotions can take the upper hand.

Hitting a disabled person can be dangerous because laws protect disabled persons. The punishment for hitting a disabled person varies among states and depends on the damage severity.

And what’s worse?

You could end up in jail for it. Too bad.

Keep reading to see what happens when you hit a disabled person.

Table of Contents

Who is a Disabled Person?

First off, you should know who a disabled person is. A disabled person has an impairment that limits their interaction with day-to-day activities and the world in general. A disability can sometimes be inborn or caused by some external factors.

Disabilities can be due to mental or physical restrictions. Whichever it is, people with disabilities need special medical attention and care.

Related: How to Successfully Report Someone Taking Advantage of a Disabled Person

Types of Disability

These are the common categories of disabilities recognized by WHO.

assaulting a disabled person
  • Brain injury
  • Deafness or hearing impairment
  • Vision impairment
  • Mental health conditions
  • Physical disability
  • Intellectual disability
  • Autism spectrum disorder

What Happens If You Hit a Disabled Person?

It is a criminal offense to hit a disabled person. It is an assault and considered a disability hate crime.

If you hit a disabled person, you could get arrested and go to jail. The punishment is worse if it’s a series of harassment to the disabled person.

The point is to limit your interactions with disabled persons if you cannot control your emotions around them. You can also change locations or see a therapist to avoid assaulting them.

If you hit a disabled person out of control, you should see a criminal defense attorney to guide you on what to do. Ensure you also report an assault on a disabled person to the appropriate quarters.

Related: Penalties for Assaulting a Disabled Person

How to Treat People with Disabilities

Now that you know it is a crime to hit a disabled person, you should also know how to treat a disabled person with love and care. This article section addresses this issue because only a few persons know how to treat disabled persons.

what happens if you hit a disabled person

For clarity, I have grouped the interacting etiquette based on disabilities. Keep reading to find out how to interact with disabled persons better.

People with Vision Impairment

This disability can be a partial or total vision impairment. While people with vision impairment can live a normal life, it is punishable to harass or assault them. Check out how to treat a person with vision impairment.

  • Always identity yourself when entangling with a person with vision impairment
  • Take people with vision impairment by the arm when guiding them instead of taking yours
  • Don’t distract their service dog if they have one
  • Do not point poor or glare lightening to people with vision impairment
  • Describe sceneries when conversing with them

People with Hearing Impairment

Like other disabilities, hearing impairment is in varying degrees. Nevertheless, you should treat people in this category with care.

Bear in mind that people with hearing impairment use a wide range of aids to compensate for their impairment. These aids include note writing, sign language interpreter, and lip-reading devices.

Here’s how to treat people with hearing impairment;

  • Speak clearly to people with hearing impairment
  • Spend the average time when speaking with them
  • Maintain eye contact and speak directly to them, and not their interpreter
  • Use a written note to pass complex information/message

Related: How to Become Power of Attorney for a Disabled Person

People with Traumatic Brain Injury

The people in this category suffer from brain damage owing to diseases, infections, head trauma, and lack of oxygen. A traumatic brain injury could be minimal or extreme, depending on the effects.

Note: Traumatic brain injury greatly differs from mental health conditions and intellectual disability.

Check out how you can help people battling traumatic brain injury

  • Be patient with people suffering from this condition
  • Provide clear instructions and explanations
  • Do not subject them to stress and pressure

People with Mental Health Conditions

Another common disability recognized by WHO is the mental health condition. Sadly, they usually do not have a cure. Mental health condition includes but is not limited to anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.

So, here’s how to treat people with mental health conditions without assaulting them;

  • Provide clear information when communicating with them
  • Do not take advantage of them, instead interact and show them love
  • Ask them gently on ways you can help them

People with a Physical Disability

This condition is when people’s walking ability or stamina is affected or limited. It could be permanent or temporary and could have been acquired later or gotten from birth. People with physical disabilities use walking aids like crutches, wheelchairs, POP, etc., to aid mobility. You should not hurt or hit a person with a physical disability.

Hitting a person with a physical disability might result in more significant damage to their defective body parts. Here’s how you can help a person with a physical disability.

  • Ask for permission before touching their mobility aids
  • Ask if they need walking assistance before going ahead to help them
  • Do not intellectually abuse a person with a physical disability

People with Intellectual Disability

You should never hit a person with an intellectual disability but treat them respectfully. People with intellectual disabilities battle several issues like communication problems, safety, self-care, and social skills. The best way to help people with an intellectual disability is to show love and care.

  • Be patient with them as they work, speak and walk.
  • Keep instructions simple and use demonstrations if possible
  • Allow for flexibility with working with people with intellectual disability
  • Respect adults with intellectual disabilities, and do not treat them like a child

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder affects behavior, social interaction, and communication. Some people with Autism spectrum disorder have problems with eating, walking, talking, etc. It is illegal to hit a person with Autism spectrum disorder. Here’s what you should do to help people living with this condition.

  • Establish a communication routine with them
  • Be patient with them because they can be really slow
  • Do not physically or verbally assault people with Autism spectrum disorder
  • Ask how you can help if you are unsure of how to help at a point in time
What Happens If You Hit a Disabled Person? (Answered)


My love for the disabled community started when I helped a blind man cross the road at around age 6. Fast forward to decades later, I became the caregiver of my grandma, who lost her ability to speak in her 90s. This blog helps me to produce helpful content that aligns with my passion.

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