The acts of assault and battery usually bring to mind criminal charges or violations. But these actions, either separate or together, can also lead to a civil case.
Victims of assault and battery may be able to bring a lawsuit against the perpetrator, alleging an intentional tort.
Personal injury claims are most closely associated with accidents due to negligence. However, negligent behavior is not the only foundation for civil lawsuits. An intentional act that causes injury or damage can form the basis for a personal injury claim as well, as an intentional tort.
A tort is a legal term for an unjust act or civil wrong that leads to harm, which exposes the responsible party to liability for damages. An intentional tort is one where the liable party performs the wrongful act on purpose. Intent to harm is not a requirement.
For example, if someone meant only to play a prank, but their intentional actions injured someone else, the prankster can still be held financially responsible for the damage he caused with his mischief.
Assault & Battery: Their relationship and differences
Contrary to popular belief, assault does not require actual physical contact. Assault is an attempt or the threat of imminent physical harm or offensive contact. Battery, on the other hand, is when there is actual contact.
Battery involves intentional physical contact which is offensive and/or harmful to the victim. This contact must cause actual injury, physical and/or emotional. The intent to cause harm is not necessary, only the intent to make physical contact. Non-consensual touching and undesirable sexual contact that leads to harm can be considered tortuous battery, as well.
Assault and battery are closely related. Due to their nature, personal injury claims for these offenses are often made together, though not necessarily. An important consideration in assault claims is the existence of reasonable and credible apprehension of impending physical contact.
Simply being afraid isn’t sufficient. The victim must demonstrate that the impending harmful contact was real and nearly immediately approaching. Battery requires no apprehension, or even knowledge that it was coming.
Assault & Battery Damages in Personal Injury Cases
The severity of injury and harm from assault and battery can range from minor to catastrophic. Monetary compensation in these cases can help the victims with medical bills, treatments, and otherwise make the victim "whole" again. There are two main types of damages in these cases:
- Compensatory damages – Money award intended to compensate the plaintiff for the losses suffered, such as doctor bills, hospital charges, income loss, pain, and emotional distress.
- Punitive damages – Money award designed to punish the wrongdoer and act as a deterrent to discourage future similar behavior.
Suing for Assault & Battery
Assault and battery claims may be appropriate in negligent security cases, where a victim is assaulted on someone else’s property because the property owner provided inadequate security measures. These claims frequently arise in the landlord-tenant setting, where a landlord does not take proper safeguards to ensure the safety of tenants from trespassers.
Other cases involving assault and battery claims are sexual abuse cases and certain medical malpractice cases.
If you have been injured by assault or battery, an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Call The Reinartz Law Firm to discuss your case and learn what options may be available.