When to Approach a Personal Injury Lawyer

When most people are injured by an assault or a battery, their first instinct is to pursue criminal charges against the offender. For most cases, that is the best course of action. There are times, however, when it would be prudent to also pursue a claim in civil court for damages as a result of an assault or battery.

Many people confuse the two torts and believe that they are one because they are so often used together. An assault is an intentional act meant to cause reasonable apprehension of an immediate harmful contact. In other words, in order for the perpetrator to be held liable, a reasonable person in the injured party’s shoes would have believed that a harmful contact was imminent based on the conduct of the assailant. Take note that an assault does not require that one actually be touched. Intimidation and fear of a battery is enough. Establishing an assault is very fact-specific and it is best to consult a local attorney for guidance. A battery is when an intentional harmful touching or contact takes place. Battery can be direct or indirect contact. For example, pushing a chair into someone will qualify as direct contact. Also, instances like pulling a chair from underneath someone as they are about to sit will also qualify. Please note that an intent to commit the injury is not needed to be found liable for assault or battery. All that needs to be established is that the offender intended to commit the acts.

The most common defenses a person would have to a claim of assault or battery are consent, privilege, self-defense or defense of others. Consent means that the person agreed to the possibility of being injured. In other words, you probably do not have a personal injury claim if you allowed your friends to take turns punching you in the stomach. Privilege is a defense used mostly by law enforcement and generally used in the course of an arrest. Self-defense or defending others like children or animals may be enough to overcome a claim of assault or battery.

So why go after someone in civil court for assault and battery? In some instances an injured party who accumulates a substantial amount of medical bills and lost income while recovering would be served by having those bills paid off. There is, however, a caveat to this strategy. Those individuals who have very little in the amount of insurance or personal monetary assets may not be worth targeting for damages. In some instances, sending the party to jail may be the best course of action.


This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases.

Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured by an assault or battery please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.