Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law

Civil Battery

If someone assaults you, they can face criminal charges. However, battery is also a type of personal injury. If someone intentionally injures you, you can sue them for assault and battery. A civil lawsuit for battery can help you get money for your medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress.

Civil liability laws are based on state laws. If you were assaulted or injured and want to recover damages, find a personal injury attorney in your area to learn about your options for getting compensation.

What Is Civil Assault and Battery?

Civil battery is known as an intentional tort. A tort is a wrongful act, and someone injured by an assault or battery can get compensation for their losses from the person who caused the injury. Types of intentional torts can include:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • False imprisonment
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress

Civil assault and civil battery are two individual claims, but assault and battery are often used together. In some states, assault is like an attempted battery or threatening someone with harm, but there doesn’t have to be any physical injury. Assault is intentionally putting someone in fear of harm.

Battery is unwanted physical harm against another person. Even minor touching or offensive contact could be considered battery if it is intentional. For example, punching, kicking, tripping, or groping someone could be battery. It doesn’t always have to involve touching someone. Spitting on someone can also be a type of battery.

Do There Have to Be Criminal Charges To File a Lawsuit?

A civil battery case is separate from a criminal case. You can still file a civil case for battery even if the police never arrested anyone. However, if there are criminal charges, it can be helpful for your case. The burden of proof for a criminal assault and battery is higher than in a civil court. That can mean that a criminal conviction in an assault case might mean you have a strong chance to win your personal injury lawsuit.

When Can You Sue for Battery?

You can sue someone for battery if they caused unwanted physical contact that caused harm or injury. In a civil suit, the injury victim is asking for monetary damages to compensate them for their losses. Financial compensation in a civil battery case can include medical care and lost wages. A lawsuit can also provide for non-economic damages like emotional distress and loss of consortium. In some cases, you can get punitive damages to punish the aggressor.

What Are Defenses to Civil Battery?

Just like in a criminal case, there are defenses to civil battery claims. If someone sues you for battery, talk to a personal injury lawyer for legal advice about defending yourself. Defenses to battery include:

  • Consent
  • Self-defense
  • Defense of others

An example of consent would include a boxing match. If two boxers were in a boxing ring and one boxer got knocked out, they generally couldn’t sue for battery. However, if a boxer took out a knife and stabbed the other boxer, it could be battery because the boxer didn’t consent to that kind of injury.

Self-defense is a defense to a civil battery suit. If you reasonably believed you were in immediate danger and used force to defend yourself, it can be a defense against civil battery. For self-defense, you can only use the level of force necessary to effectively defend yourself. For example, if someone was going to throw a water bottle at you, you could not defend yourself by shooting the other person.

Defending someone else is also a defense to a battery personal injury claim. Defense of another is when you reasonably believe someone else is in danger of bodily harm and you use force to stop the attack.

How Do You Win a Personal Injury Case for Battery?

To prove a personal injury case for battery, you have to prove the defendant intentionally attacked you, which caused harm and resulted in damages. The victim of an assault has to prove each element to win a case:

  • Intentional act
  • Physical contact
  • Harm
  • Damages

Evidence to show there was intentional contact can include a police report, witness testimony, or videos of the attack. Evidence that you suffered harm and damages can include medical records, pay stubs, and medical testimony.

If you have questions about how to win and whether you should file a civil battery case, contact a personal injury law office in your area that understands intentional tort claims and how you can get compensation in a battery lawsuit.

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