When you think of the term ‘Assault and Battery,’ you may immediately think of criminal activity. However, what many of you may not be aware of is that there are also civil penalties available for someone who is a victim of an assault or a battery. In the realm of personal injury law, an assault and battery is classified as an intentional tort. A tort is some kind of wrongful act that causes harm to someone else. If a person who is acting wrongly actually intends to cause harm to the other person, that is an intentional tort.
In a civil context, a battery is defined as “the intentional touching of the body of another.” This touching has to be done without the consent of the person on the receiving end of the touching. In order for an individual to be charged with battery, all that has to be proven is that there was non-consensual touching. What constitutes a battery can be as obvious as hitting or punching someone in the face, or as indirect as doing something that, while not intending to do harm to a person, was intended to do a harm to something else, like setting a trap for an animal or rodent. If any act of a person in “touching” the body of another person causes an injury, the offender could be held responsible for civil battery.
There are separate civil penalties that a victim can pursue if they are a victim of an assault. Most people mistakenly believe that an assault, like a battery, requires physical harm or contact by a person. In actuality, an assault can be a threat or an attempt at violence. No actual contact needs to happen in order for an assault to occur. In fact, even if there is no battery (or actual contact upon a victim), an assault could still have occurred. To reiterate: the victim needs only to have an imminent fear of contact for an assault to occur; no actual physical contact need to have occurred.
In a personal injury context, when an assault and/or battery is found to have occurred, the victim is awarded damages for the harm caused. Generally, the award will compensate the victim for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. These are called compensatory damages. In addition, however, victims of intentional torts can also recover what are called punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to penalize the defendant for intentionally abhorrent behavior, and to deter people from committing the same acts. In most instances, punitive damages can be three (3) times greater than the amount that was awarded for compensatory damages.
If you feel that you have been a victim of an assault and battery, the attorneys of Keches Law Group are available to speak to you about the facts of your case. As one of the largest plaintiff’s personal injury firms in Massachusetts, we have the resources and experience to get you the answers that you need and the representation you deserve. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not have to pay our fee unless you receive a recovery. We are available at any time to discuss your unique situation. If you have been a victim of assault and/or battery, contact Keches Law Group today. Call us at 617-898-0808, or visit our website and chat with us online.