Assault & Battery – Civil Lawsuits

Assault and battery are violent crimes involving the threat of harm and causing actual harm to an individual. In terms of criminal law, they can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the seriousness of the crime.

TorkLaw attorneys do not practice criminal law; however, in terms of civil law, assault and battery are also known as intentional torts. If you have been injured as a result of assault and battery, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a number of parties, depending on the circumstances.


Assault is an intentional act that causes a person to fear immediate harm. Assault is the threat of harm itself, so it is sometimes called “attempted battery.” However, to classify as assault, there must have been some action taken in addition to a threat. For instance, approaching someone with raised fists, or brandishing a weapon.

Battery can be described as the completion of an assault. Battery is offensive or harmful touching of another person that is done intentionally, and without the person’s consent. To classify as battery, the act does not need to severely injure or traumatize the victim, as long as the contact would be considered harmful or offensive by a reasonable person, and consent was not given. For example, unwanted sexual contact, is considered battery.

Assault and battery are often charged together, although, in some states they can be charged as separate offenses.


A tort is any wrongful act that causes injury to someone, whether harm was intended or not. Intentional torts are actions done with the purpose of causing someone harm.
Besides assault and battery, other intentional torts include fraud, defamation (libel or slander), false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.


Intentional torts are also crimes, for which a person can be arrested and tried in criminal court.

The same person can also be sued separately in a civil trial for the same offence, even if that person:

  • Has already been criminally convicted for the same offense
  • Has not been arrested or convicted for the offense
  • Has been tried and acquitted for the same offense

The difference is that in a criminal court, the defendant is subject to being imprisoned for an offense against society. In a civil trial, the defendant is subject to paying the plaintiff, or individual who has been injured, for all losses and damages related to that offense.

Because the stakes in civil court are primarily financial, the burden of proof is lower than in a criminal trial. Plaintiffs do not need proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” — they only need to show that their claim is more likely than not to be true.


If you’ve been injured in an assault or battery, the perpetrator’s insurance will probably not help.

This is because most insurance policies specifically exclude intentional acts of harm. Insurance policies, whether homeowner’s insurance or automobile insurance, cover ordinary negligence or carelessness, or the failure to exercise reasonable care. Assault and battery are always considered intentional acts.

However, there are other ways to collect.

If the person who harmed you has money or assets, such as a high-end vehicle, equity in a home, expensive jewelry, etc. you may be able to collect substantial compensation if you sue your attacker in civil court.

If you were assaulted in a restaurant, bar, or other public location, the owner may be held liable for your injuries if their security was negligent.

If you have been injured in an assault and battery incident, depending on the situation, you may be able to file a suit against one or more parties to help pay for your injuries and losses. Contact the personal injury attorneys at TorkLaw to find out if we can help you.

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