Most people think of car accidents, slip and fall cases, and medical malpractice when personal injury is the topic. However, assault and battery are among the most common civil causes of actions in the realm of “intentional torts.” Assault and battery are civil causes of action normally associated with the criminal justice process, however, it is well established in personal injury. Similar to slipping on a wet area at a mall or being struck by a drunk driver, you are free to pursue a claim for civil damages against someone who attacks you. If you are considering pursuing a claim against an aggressor for your injuries, you should know a few basic ideas regarding these two causes of action.
How To Prove Assault And Battery
Assault and battery are often used together to describe one cause of action. However, they are actually two separate causes of action, although both fall under the heading of assault under the Arizona Criminal Code.
A civil cause of action for assault requires proof of:
- Intent to cause offensive contact, or harm, against you or another, or intent to cause apprehension, immediate harm, or contact;
- Actual apprehension; and
The term “offensive” means any contact that would offend a reasonable person. “Apprehension” means the anticipation of offensive contact – no actual contact is necessary. Lastly, you must have suffered some type of injury to satisfy the “damages” element.
A civil action for battery requires proof of:
- Contact that is harmful or offensive
- No consent
The major difference between assault and battery is that battery includes actual contact.
- Compensatory Damages
- General Damages. General damages compensate the plaintiff for the value of the kind of harm expected from the assault or battery. These damages typically include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and humiliation.
- Special Damages. These damages can include lost wages and any future treatment that might be required.
- Punitive Damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct. Juries are given the power to determine this figure and will consider the nature of the defendant’s act, the harm suffered, and the amount that would punish the defendant relative to their wealth.
- Nominal Damages. Nominal damages are generally small and awarded when assault is proven, but there is no harm.
Contact A Lawyer
Regardless of whether your case involves a threat of harm, a bar fight, or an ongoing pattern of being victimized, Ariano and Reppucci has a team of lawyers experienced in intentional torts that can guide you through the process from beginning to end. Damages in assault and battery cases vary widely and the outcomes not only depend on the nature of your case and the extent of your injuries, but most importantly, how your case is presented.
Call Ariano & Reppuccci for a free consultation.