Assault and battery incidents can be one of the most traumatizing and terrifying experiences that one can go through. There is actually a legal distinction between assault and battery, despite their interchangeability in everyday conversation, depending on the statutes of a given state. These incidents can be extremely physically damaging and psychologically damaging to the victim, so they deserve some peace of mind and recovery following any assault or battery incident.
While there is some confusion on their use in the legal context regarding definitions or whether it is a criminal or civil matter, speaking to an experienced attorney can help you recover mentally and financially from such a frightening incident.
The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Mike Agruss Law, have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been a victim of an assault or battery, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Assault vs. Battery in the Civil Law Context
The terms “assault” and “battery” are often used interchangeably in normal conversation, however, they are two very different concepts. Both terms are considered intentional torts, torts meaning wrongs committed by one person against another and causing damage. Assault is an intentional tort meant to cause “reasonable apprehension of imminent and harmful contact.” The plaintiff need not be actually physically harmed, but the main idea here is that there was reasonable fear that they would be. On the other hand, battery is when an individual knowingly causes bodily harm or makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature. In this case, there must be some physical contact and injury.
The two terms can be used in the civil context or the criminal context. in criminal cases, the state prosecutes the perpetrator; in civil cases, the victim can file a personal injury claim against the perpetrator. In the civil context, assault or battery occurs when the defendant commits an act that they should have known would cause the plaintiff to experience apprehension. In the criminal context, the state must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant violated a statute in their behavior and if they had criminal intent. Criminal charges can result in imprisonment and can be considered a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the incident.
Types of Assault and Battery
Assault and battery can occur in countless places. However, some of the most common scenarios of assault and battery accidents occur in the following locations:
- Fights at a bar or club
- Fights at school, home, work, or sporting events
- Sexual assault
- Domestic violence
Proving Liability in a Civil Case of Assault or Battery
A civil case may be a better route over a criminal case (if applicable) in the case that the incident caused some costly damages. This way, you can get fair compensation for your damages and losses. A key element in proving a civil case of these crimes is that only the defendant meant to commit the act that threatened the victim. The victim must establish some other elements in order to prove that the defendant committed the intentional torts of assault or battery. First, that the defendant committed the act that causes intentional physical, verbal, or emotional distress to your body or property. Then, that this contact was harmful and you did not consent to it.
The defendant and their lawyers may use a few defenses to dispute the plaintiff’s claim. One defense could be consent, which says that the victim consented to the possibility of harm. This may apply in cases concerning sports or recreational activities. Some cases of sports assault or battery may not be valid or accepted in the legal context since they may be an element of consent. Another defense may be privilege, which arises sometimes in law enforcement disputes. If a victim files a claim against a law enforcement officer, their position of privilege may protect them if it is decided that they used a reasonable and appropriate amount of force in the incident.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
Some cases of assault and battery can come with a sudden and large financial burden. With the help of one of our attorneys, we can help you to get monetary damages in a successful claim. Some common damages that you can recover after a successful personal injury claim include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological counseling
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of consortium
If you or a loved one has been a victim of an assault or battery, contact our office today for a free consultation.