Assault and Battery: When Can You File A Personal Injury Claim?
If you are the victim of assault and battery, there may be criminal charges filed against the perpetrator. But you also have the option of filing a personal injury claim against this party as well. Someone who threatens you or harms you physically may be held liable and you may be able to seek compensation for any damages you incurred as a result of the incident. What damages can you ask for? In cases of assault and battery you may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses and nominal damages. Nominal expenses refer to a monetary sum that signifies that the at-fault party has violated your rights. Even in some situations where physical injury did not occur it is possible to obtain nominal damages. In very specific situations you also may be able to seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish those who commit particularly egregious actions and must be held accountable. Punitive damages are not awarded very often and it is not the practice of every state to award these types of damages. What is assault and what is battery? Different states may legally define these terms in slightly differing ways, so you will need to refer to laws in your state if you are a victim of what you believe to be assault or battery. An attorney in your state will be able to advise you. These are some guidelines for identifying assault and battery. Assault Assault consists of an intentional act that instills fear of harm or imminent contact. This can include threats or actions which cause the victim to believe that he or she is about to be harmed. An assault claim may or may not include actual physical contact, but could just be precipitated by the threat of immediate physical contact. As long as the belief that harm was about to occur is reasonable, this may be enough to sustain a claim of assault, even if the victim was never touched by the would-be assailant. Battery Battery, however, usually does include actual physical contact. Battery is when there is an action performed which makes harmful or offensive contact with another person. There are several different types of battery: direct and immediate, indirect and immediate, or indirect and remote. It is important to note that with battery, the action does not have to result in injury to the victim. It may be enough that the victim found the contact to be offensive and unwanted. It is also necessary to show that the act was intentional on the part of the perpetrator. Examples of assault and battery that can result in a personal injury claim include domestic violence, sexual assault, robbery, or simple assault and battery. Legal help for victims If you have been involved in a situation which you believe falls into one or both of these categories, you should contact a personal injury attorney in your state. Assault and battery are commonly committed together, so you should discuss your situation with an experienced attorney who can determine your legal options and what the best course of action will be.