Most personal injury lawsuits are filed over accidents, such as auto collisions. However, many personal injury cases are not from accidents, but from intentional acts of harm. In the context of personal injury law, these acts are known as “assault” and “battery.” In a typical case, the victim of an assault and/or battery sues the offender, seeking compensation for the injuries and damages obtained from the incident. However, what kind of conduct amounts to an “assault” and “battery”? This blog will go over everything you need to know about assault battery cases in relation to personal injury.
What is Assault?
Before we get into all of the details, first we have to start with the basics. What exactly is an assault? In a personal injury case, an assault is defined as any intentional act that is meant to convey a “reasonable apprehension of imminent and harmful contact.” Put simply; it means an action that makes someone (the victim) expect or believe that they are about to be hurt by another (the offender). In most states, that apprehension of fear or imminent harm is all it takes for an act to be considered an assault. No actual touching or contact has to be made for the tort of assault to take place. It’s the threat that matters. If contact does take place between the offender and the victim, that’s where the intentional tort of “battery” comes into play.
What is Battery?
The specific definition of “battery” generally varies from state to state; however, it usually consists of a person (the offender) making intentional and harmful offensive contact with another person (the victim). For it to be considered a battery, the contact by the offender and the resulting harm to the victim can be:
- Direct and immediate – Example: Harry pushes Peter
- Indirect and immediate – Example: Harry throws a rock at Peter
- Indirect and remote – Example: Harry sets up a trap that Peter falls into later
It’s important to note that the victim doesn’t actually need to be physically harmed in order for a battery to take place. In the majority of states, all that’s required is that the contact be offensive or inappropriate and that the offender purposely meant for it to take place.
Degrees of Assault and Battery
There are numerous degrees of assault and battery crimes, but they fall into two basic categories: simple or aggravated. These categories are based on the nature and specific acts committed by the accused person. The crime is treated with more severity if the person (offender) assaults the protected class of people, which consists of:
- Pregnant women
- The elderly
The charges may be elevated to a felony class crime if the offender also:
- Robbed a place or person
- Raped someone
- Used a deadly weapon in the process
Criminal and Civil Liability
Similar to all other personal injury cases, assault and battery crimes may be subject to both civil and criminal liability. Civil liability is used to ensure that the victim obtains compensation for the sustained injuries, while criminal liability is used to punish the accused. When the accused has harmed the victim in an intentional or particularly violent way, the victim is usually entitled to compensation for the damages, medical expenses, pain, and suffering that occurred due to the acts. Other factors of the claim against the perpetrator may allow for additional compensation that includes:
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
- Other similar compensatory payouts
When it comes to assault battery cases, there are many things that need to be taken into account before deciding on taking it to court, such as the specific definition of these acts in your state. We hope this blog helped you understand assault battery cases in relation to personal injury. If you were injured by the acts of another person and are looking to file a personal injury claim, then contact our personal injury lawyers at Bonnici Law Group. We’re here to protect your rights and give you the compensation you deserve. Give us a call at (619) 259-5199 or click here to schedule a free consultation.