It is a known fact that most personal injury cases are the result of a kind of accident, either a car crash, a negligence situation of a slip and fall incident. This isn’t all to be said about personal injury cases, though. A less more frequent but still very common kind involve intentional torts, that is situations in which one person intended to cause harm to another person.
An accidents attorney will be able to help you file a claim in court, in case you were the victim of such an act, but will your case be going to civil or criminal court? Let us look closer at personal injury claims for intentional tort.
The interesting thing is the same type of conduct can both lead to criminal and civil liability. Legally speaking, battery and assault are part of the intentional torts category. In these situations, they can serve as base for civil lawsuits, usually solved by the perpetrator paying financial damages. But if the case is considered criminal assault, state prosecution will follow, and the attacker can face jail time.
What does “assault and battery” legally entail?
Criminal and civil assault and battery will have almost the same definition. The thing to keep in mind is that every US state has different criminal statuses and these vary slightly in their definition of crimes.
Generally speaking, assault involves action or a threat of action, by which one person puts another person in imminent bodily harm. Battery is considered the logical result of an assault. Legally speaking, assault turns into battery when physical touching is involved. For instance, if someone has only raised a fist at you, placing you in imminent punching danger, that person has assaulted you. But if the punch was not thrown and in no way connected to your body, that cannot be considered battery.
A few things about civil cases
Civil assault and battery are actually considered torts which means a wrong was done by one party against another, causing some sort of damage. Most of the civil battery cases are the result of an act of negligence. This is why an accidents attorney will explain that in court, a regular tort will not take the intent of the perpetrator into consideration. An intentional tort is a totally different situation and it can usually be at the basis of a criminal case, as they can result in false imprisonment, fraud or slander.
Generally, keep in mind that battery and assault are considered criminal actions when there are actual laws preventing this kind of behavior. A person can be found non-guilty of such an intentional crime, but can still be found civilly liable and be forced to pay damages arising out of the same incident.
As battery and assault cases are generally considered more difficult, in case you were the victim of such an act, the best thing would be to first contact a specialized personal injury attorney.