Personal Injury: Assault and Battery

Most personal injury cases involve harm caused by the negligence of another party. However, in the instances of assault and battery, the victim must prove that the actions of the other party, or defendant, were intentional.

While often grouped together, assault and battery are two different intentional torts.

Assault is generally defined as an act whose purpose is to cause a "reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact" (Legal Information Institute, Cornell). This means that another person's action caused you to reasonably fear harm or unwanted contact. There is no requirement for the offender to actually touch or injure you - it is the anticipation of harm that defines an assault.

For example, if someone approaches you with fists raised saying, "I'm going to rearrange your face," it is reasonable to fear that they intend to harm you. It is not required that they actually hit you for this to qualify as an assault.

If the person in the example above makes physical contact with you, this is considered battery. It is not required in civil lawsuits, however, for you to be injured for a battery to have occurred. The general tort law for battery is "the intentional causation of harmful or offensive contact with another's person without that person's consent" (Legal Information Institute, Cornell).

Assault can occur without battery; and battery can occur without an assault, such as getting attacked from behind. In either instance, contact our attorneys to discuss the details of your particular circumstances.

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