In civil court, assault and battery are intentional torts, and can be the basis of a personal injury lawsuit against the person who commits them. Assault and battery are different from other personal injury claims in that the person accused of assault or battery must have acted with the intent to cause a certain result — either fear in the victim or physical contact to the victim’s person. It is important if you or a loved one has been the victim of an assault or battery that you contact a knowledgeable, skilled personal injury attorney at Ryan, Roach & Ryan, LLP in Kingston, NY, to discuss your legal options.
While the torts of assault and battery are similar and can go together in one lawsuit, it is important to note that they are actually two separate claims. A defendant can commit an assault without a battery, and vice versa. However, a battery usually includes an assault, and an assault can be characterized as an attempted or uncompleted battery. In general terms, an assault occurs when a person is placed in apprehension or fear of a harmful or offensive contact, and a battery occurs when that harmful or offensive contact actually occurs.
It is important to note that a battery plaintiff does not have to show that the defendant meant to cause physical injuries through the harmful or offensive contact. This means that even in a situation where the defendant was playing a practical joke and meant to scare the plaintiff, he or she can still be liable for battery as long as harmful or offensive contact resulted. What’s more, the defendant himself or herself does not have to come into contact with the plaintiff in order to have committed a battery, nor does the contact need to be applied directly to the plaintiff, as long as the defendant supplied the force that caused or resulted in contact with plaintiff.
Damages in assault and/or battery cases may be compensatory or punitive. Compensatory damages are intended to compensate you for the losses you suffered as a result of defendant’s conduct. They may include your medical expenses and lost income, damages for pain and suffering, and loss of your future earning capacity. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior. The availability of punitive damages may differ from state to state, but, when available, punitive damages typically require proof that the defendant acted with “malice” (out of hatred or ill will) and set out to deliberately injure the victim.
If you or a loved one was injured as a result of an assault and/or battery, it is important that you speak with an attorney to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Contact Ryan, Roach & Ryan, LLP in Kingston, NY, to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn about your legal rights and options.