Personal Injuries Involving Assault and BatterySeptember 14, 2017
Although the majority of personal injury lawsuits are accident-related, sometimes they involve intentional rather than accidental harm. Assault and battery is just one of these types of intentional tort cases.
Below you’ll find out what to do if you are assaulted and what kind of compensation you may be entitled to.
Assault and Battery Defined
Any intentional act that is meant to cause harm or that causes fear of imminent harm is considered assault. Even if you are threatened but not harmed, this counts as assault. For example, if someone points a gun at you to scare you, this is still assault even if they don’t shoot. No actual contact has to happen for an act to be considered the intentional tort of assault. If there is a threat, it counts.
Battery, on the other hand, means that one person makes intentional, harmful, or offensive contact with a second person. If someone throws something at you, shoves you, or sets a trap that you fall into at a later time, these are all examples of battery. You do not need to be physically harmed for an act to be considered battery: what counts is that the contact is offensive or inappropriate as well as intentional.
It’s important to note that assault can happen without battery, such as a threat that doesn’t result in physical harm. Battery can also occur without assault. For example, if someone shoves you from behind and you did not feel fear beforehand because you didn’t know it was about to happen, an intentional tort of assault could not have occurred.
Understanding Assault and Battery Damages
A wide range of injuries can be present in assault and battery cases, which means the damage awards can vary just as widely. If very little harm was done, it may not be worth your time and energy to file a lawsuit. Medical bills, pain and suffering, lost work, and other expenses may be eligible damages.
If, on the other hand, an assault or battery has resulted in you requiring a lot of medical attention or being hospitalized, a lawsuit can ensure that you are reimbursed for any medical bills or pain and suffering you experience.
Knowing Which Defenses to Expect
If the person who committed the assault or battery has a good legal reason for doing so, it will be hard to receive compensation. First, if you granted your consent to be hurt, such as by signing a waiver to be on a football team, it may be difficult for you to win your case even if you were harmed.
If a police officer injured you during an arrest, it is unlikely that your case will be successful unless they used an unreasonable amount of physical force.
Self-defense is another common defense in assault and battery cases. If the party that caused the injury or threat was responding reasonably to a threat of harm, such as grabbing your arm if you were about to hit them, your lawsuit will also be unlikely to succeed. If they acted reasonably to defend another party from your actions, you would again be unlikely to win your case.
Criminal Cases of Assault and Battery
Not only can an assault and battery result in an intentional tort lawsuit, but it can also be prosecuted by the government. Because it is a criminal offense, it can be punished by fines, jail time, or both. This means that if someone punches you in the face, it could be a personal injury lawsuit and a criminal prosecution.
If you are unsure whether or not your case qualifies as an intentional tort, it’s best to speak with a Tort Claims lawyer so you can fully understand your legal rights and what kinds of compensation you may be entitled to. Consultations are typically free, so it’s worth talking things through with an experienced lawyer.
Now that you know more about assault and battery personal injury cases, learn more by downloading our free personal injury recovery kit or contact us to set up a consultation with a personal injury lawyer.
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