Though coupled together, assault and battery are different. And while there are various degrees of assault and battery crimes, the crimes fall into two basic categories of simple and aggravated. If you have been a victim of assault and battery, remember that there does not need to be any injury that occurs for this charge to be issued. You still have the right to sue your attacker for damages that they have caused.
While most personal injury claims deal with accidental harm, assault and battery are examples of intentional harm that can lead to a personal injury lawsuit. What exactly does “assault” and “battery” mean when it comes to the law? Though separate, these crimes are often linked together. HG defines these terms appropriately in their article on assault and battery claims:
Assault is when a person threatens or intimidates someone through the use of his or her actions. These actions often cause the victim targeted to fear possible forthcoming injury to his or her body. There does not need to be any injury that occurs for this charge to be issued.
To summarize: If there was an attempt or threat to commit a violent injury against you, that is considered assault.
Battery is the actual physical act of someone harming another person to the point of injury. The distinction between the two crimes is the use of physical and harmful contact upon another person.
To summarize: If physical force is used, the crime becomes battery, not assault.
It is important to note that you as the victim can file suit as long as you suffered damages as a result of the attacker’s wrongful actions.
To help you better understand how you can sue for damages for assault and battery, the Southern Californian personal injury attorneys of Raynes | Erickson, Attorneys at Law will discuss the following: what types of acts you can sue for, what losses can be recovered from an assault and/or battery crime, and when you should consider seeking an assault and battery attorney to help you determine what steps you should take as a victim of assault and battery.
Anyone who has been the victim of an unprovoked threat or use of force can sue for damages as a result of assault and battery. To ensure your case is being handled appropriately, let us break down what types of acts form the basis of a civil lawsuit for assault and/or battery.
- Simple assault – This type of assault is usually charged as a misdemeanor and is the least serious form of assault. It involves a minor injury or a limited threat of violence. In states where assault is a physical attack, pushing someone or slapping someone in an argument are instances of simple assault.
- Simple battery – The unauthorized or unlawful use of force to the body of another person, which results in an offensive touching or some other physical injury. This may include any form of non-consensual harmful or insulting contact, regardless of the injury caused. It is important to know that the touching of another person must be willful. In other words, if you accidentally trip and bump into another person as you are falling, that is not considered battery.
- Battery causing serious bodily injury – A person commits this offense by touching or striking another person in a harmful or offensive manner, such that doing so causes the person to suffer a serious bodily injury.
- Assault with a deadly weapon (“ADW”) – This occurs whenever anyone assaults another person with a deadly weapon, or a weapon other than a firearm, or when anyone assaults another person using force likely to produce great bodily injury. If a person intends to use a bat to injure a person, that is considered assault with a deadly weapon though a bat is typically not considered a deadly weapon.
- Vehicular assault – This involves the use of a vehicle to cause harm to another person or threaten him or her with harm. Keep in mind that vehicular assault could also include being under the influence of liquor or any drug while operating a vehicle, in a reckless matter, or with disregard for the safety of others.
- Sexual assault – Sexual Assault occurs when physical, sexual activity is engaged in without the consent of the other person, or when the other person is unable to consent to the activity. This includes any unwanted touching of a sexual nature such as kissing, fondling, oral sex, or intercourse.
- Sexual battery – This is sexual conduct that does not involve penetration or sodomy, but does involve physical contact of a sexual nature without the other person’s consent. Sexual battery may occur whether the victim is clothed or not.
- Domestic violence – Domestic violence is violence or other abuse in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Domestic violence can be in the form of physical, emotional, economic, stalking and harassment, and sexual abuse. This crime could be committed by a current or former spouse, intimate partner, and more.
An exception to suing for assault and battery is if the contact was consensual. For instance, striking someone in a martial arts class would not constitute battery unless the force used exceeded what was expected and reasonable.
Victims of assault and battery may be entitled to both compensatory damages and punitive damages. Review your incident with a professional attorney who is adequately skilled to offer guidance and legal support.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of assault and/or battery and have been affected in the following ways, you might be able to receive compensation: Medical bills; Psychological counseling; Lost wages or lost earning capacity; Pain and suffering, scarring, anxiety, and/or emotional distress or trauma; loss of enjoyment of life, or insomnia.
You should consider seeking an assault and battery attorney if you’re in the Southern California area and any of the aforementioned information applies to you. Your personal injury lawyers at Raynes | Erickson can provide the professional and legal guidance you need. Being a victim of assault and/or battery can seriously affect your life and it is critical that, in the event of a case, you have an attorney who can represent you and ensure your rights are protected.