Understanding Assault And Battery As They Apply To Your Personal Injury Case
The most common cases that people think of when hearing about personal injury lawsuits are typically accidents, like slip and fall or auto accidents. That doesn't mean that you aren't eligible to file a personal injury suit if you were the victim of a deliberate attack. If you've been targeted and intentionally attacked, you'll need to explore your options for assault and or battery as a personal injury case. Here are the details of both and how they may be relevant to your injury case.
What Is Assault?
When it comes to a personal injury case, assault is considered to be any deliberate action with the intention of causing harm. The details of the law may vary in each state, but in most situations, even the threat of such an action can be considered assault. As an example, if someone threatens to hit you or points a toy gun at you in an attempt to convince you that it's real, these things can be considered assault.
In those situations, your fear of an imminent attack or the threat of one may be all you need to claim assault. In many states, just that threat of attack is considered to be assault.
What Constitutes Battery?
Much like assault, battery's specific legal definition may vary by state. At its core, though, battery typically requires that there actually be deliberate physical contact between the victim and the assailant. The physical contact can be direct or indirect, so you may have a case whether the contact was a direct punch or a delayed action that resulted in physical contact.
You may be able to claim indirect contact under a battery claim if the other individual throws something that hits you or you were injured by something that he or she set up. In some civil courts, you may not even have to be physically injured for it to be considered battery – it just needs to be inappropriate and intentional contact.
Can Assault and Battery Co-Exist?
The terms are often referenced together, as assault and battery. Does that mean that the two can co-exist in a personal injury claim? In some situations, you can claim both assault and battery as part of the same event. For example, if you were threatened with a punch some time before the strike actually occurred, you can claim assault for the initial threat and battery for the actual strike.
On the other hand, if the punch is threatened and doesn't ever connect, you can't claim battery. In those cases, the claim would be limited to assault. Also, if you were struck from behind or were unable to see something coming before it happened, you would only be able to claim battery because you didn't have any warning or time to be concerned about the incident happening.
How Can You Pursue Damages for Assault and Battery?
Since these types of cases can vary from no injuries to hospitalizations, the types of damages you can claim will vary. If you were a victim of assault with no injuries at all, you might receive a small compensation, while victims of both assault and battery with severe injuries will probably receive more to cover medical costs, suffering and even lost work income.
Before you can claim any medical costs as part of your case, you'll have to be able to show documentation of those treatments and the bills associated with them. If you're trying to claim emotional damages, you should be able to show that you've visited a specialist for counseling. If you work with a personal injury attorney, he or she can help you understand what kinds of damages are typical for the type of case you're filing.
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