Many people think of assault and battery as criminal offenses. They are, in fact, criminal charges that can be leveled against an assailant who physically attacks another person. However, assault and battery also refer to civil personal injury claims arising from physical violence or threats of physical violence caused by another.
Victims of an assault and battery may be able to sue for money damages to pay for their injuries, their medical treatment and rehabilitation, and their pain and suffering. While the crimes of assault and battery generally involve police and prosecutors, the civil offenses of assault and battery involve a civil personal injury lawyer.
In fact, assault and battery actually refer to two separate kinds of civil claims. An assault occurs when somebody, who intends to cause you harm or fear, places you in reasonable apprehension of an immediate harmful event or attack. A battery occurs when that person actually strikes you, hits, you, or touches you in any other way without your permission. The battery can even be perpetrated when somebody throws an object at you.
For example, imagine that a baseball player swings the bat and misses the pitch repeatedly. This prompts spectators to “boo” him and bad-mouth him for his poor performance. The baseball player in response throws the wooden bad into the stands, intending to strike a particular spectator who has been bad-mouthing him. The bat flies and swirls through the air, heading ominously toward the rude spectator. Just before the bat hits the spectator, he ducks to avoid contact. The spectator behind him, however, is struck in the head by the bat. In this unseemly example, the rude spectator who ducked would have a case for assault against the bad batter, while the spectator behind him would have a case for battery.
Assault and battery are known as torts when they refer to civil offenses. A tort is any wrongful act by one person against another that may injure that person or cause him damages in some way. Not all torts are also considered crimes. Other torts, for example, include slander, negligence and trespass. The torts of assault and battery are considered intentional torts, because the assailant must intend to harm or threaten harm to the victim.
The Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick can help victims of an assault and/or battery recover damages for their losses. In some cases, in fact, a victim may be eligible for damages from people other than the assailant who actually caused their injury. For example, we once represented a man who purchased a meal at a fast-food restaurant. After he exchanged heated words with an employee there, the employee punched the man in the head. We sued, and recovered $100,000 for that victim to compensate him for the assault and battery he suffered. The money was paid by the fast-food restaurant whose negligence (another tort) was based on their failure to conduct a thorough background check on their violent employee.