Victim of Assault and Battery

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What Is Assault and Battery?

Assault is an attempt to injure and/or frighten someone that can cause fear of immediate harm in the victim. It is often associated with battery. Assault includes threats and threatening behavior towards others. Battery is the intentional physical touching of someone without their consent. If the victim has been only threatened, it is assault. But, if the victim has been injured or distressed by touching, it is battery. Even an offensive touching qualifies as battery.

How Do I Prove that I was Battered?

To prove battery, the victim needs to provide the proof of contact. There is no need to prove a physical injury in case of battery. When there is no physical contact but, the victim has been threatened, the act comes under assault. Battery does not only includes body-to-body touching. Even touching an object that is connected to the victim (like something the victim is holding), comes under battery. Battery can be also proven in the case of a contact when there is a delay between the contact and the defender's act. For example, digging a pit with the intent for another person to fall in would be considered battery.

Who is a Victim of Assault and How is it Defined?

Anyone who has been threatened or injured by another with an intention to harm is a victim of assault. One or more people can attack the victim during an assault. Assault may or may not physically harm the victim. But, it must place the victim in the fear of immediate harm.

Assault can be defined as any intentional act done to threaten or harm the other person.  It can be a physical attack, a threat or any other act that causes the victim to fear harm.

Criminal vs. Civil Court

Any physical act with the intent to harm someone can result in injury. Because of any such act, the victim might incur medical costs, pain or suffering. In this case, the perpetrator can be sued and the victim can press criminal charges.

The victim can sue the other in civil court or press criminal charges for the injury. Both of these cases are different from each other. The victim can claim a certain amount for the damages in the civil court. But, the defendant can challenge the claim amount. In the criminal cases, the accused could go to jail, pay fine, go to probation, or could face community service.

Recovering Damages as a Victim of Assault and Battery

In order to succeed on a civil claim for assault and battery, you need to be able to prove either assault or battery occurred. While assault and battery are almost one in the same, there are different standards. Especially if there was no actual unwanted touching (battery) then assault must be proven.

The standard for assault is:

  1. The defendant acted overtly or directly in a way that put the plaintiff in a state of reasonable apprehension for fear of their safety; and
  2. The defendant intended to put the plaintiff in a state of reasonable apprehension and fear for their safety.

The standard for battery is:

  1. The defendant intended to touch the plaintiff;
  2. The touching was offensive; and
  3. The defendant did not have consent from the victim.

If the assault/battery is in criminal court, then you will face similar steps but instead of seeking any compensation from the defendant, the defendant will be facing potential fines and/or jail time.

What Kind of Damages Can You Recover?

The victim can recover damages for the two types of damages in a lawsuit against Assault and/or Battery: compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Compensatory damages
Recovery of these damages includes compensation for immediate and future physical injuries such as mental distress, humiliation, embarrassment, or pain.

Recovery for assault and/or battery includes compensation for current and, some, future physical injuries. They can also include any payments for pain and suffering, which can include mental and physical distress/injuries suffered from the assault/battery.

Punitive damages
Punitive damages can not be recovered in all circumstances. These are used strictly in limited situations to punish the defendant for any serious and egregious behavior. The standard for punitive damages is high and is only awarded based on the facts of the case.

Do You Need a Lawyer as a Victim of Assault and Battery?

If you are a victim of assault and/or battery and wish to file a civil claim in court, then a personal injury lawyer can help you. Your lawyer can help you navigate your case and can help you in recovering damages for your loss.

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Last Modified: 07-26-2017 10:43 AM PDT

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