Assault and Battery – Is it a Criminal or Civil Action?

Anyone who suffers a sudden or unexpected serious attack from another person or group of people should immediately take three steps: make a police report at the location, seek out immediate medical attention, and then call a personal injury law firm to file a claim against the offender.

One must realize that this is a serious crime. If you have been in a situation where you feared for your safety or were injured by another, you may have grounds for a civil tort case under the theories of assault or battery or both.

Assault and battery are intentional torts, meaning they can serve as the basis for a civil lawsuit demanding compensation in the form of money damages. But in every state, assault and battery are also crimes, meaning that assault and battery can also result in prosecution by the state and, if the accused is found guilty, can result in jail time.

Assault and Battery: Defined

Next, it is important to understand the difference between an assault and a battery. These terms are often used interchangeably but actually mean very different things in the area of tort law. An assault is “the attempt or threat to inflict injury on another person when coupled with the apparent ability to carry out the attempt or threat.” So, there is no physical contact but rather the attempt or threat of unwanted physical contact and the apparent means to be able to do it.

For example, if someone says “I’m going to shoot you” and is pointing a gun at you, you have the threat coupled with the apparent ability to carry out the threat. As long as you believe the gun is loaded, the apparent ability to carry out the threat is present.

A battery, on the other hand, is “unwelcome physical contact.” It doesn’t necessarily require that the contact be strong or forceful – unwelcome sexual contact is also considered battery. Other examples of battery include hitting or punching. It can also include spitting on a person or throwing something at them.

Personal Injury Lawyers

Personal injury lawyers represent victims, or families of victims, that have suffered physically, emotionally, and mentally following a wrongful injury or accident. They are helpful to victims and their families that have sustained serious injuries as a result of another’s negligence or poor choices. Assault, and battery, is illegal in our country. So if a person intentionally harms or injures another person out of malice, it is considered a serious crime. No one should have to ever face a physical altercation, but they do take place nonetheless. And when they do, justice is deserved. Fortunately, personal injury lawyers have the passion and resources to obtain this kind of justice, and remain focused on the victims, their families, and everyone’s best interests.