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Assault & Battery Claims Explained

September 13, 2022

Physical assaults happen in all kinds of situations. An attack at a sporting event, domestic violence, bar fights, and use of excessive force by a security guard or police officer are common examples. A victim of assault can suffer serious harm including concussion/brain injury, broken bones, permanent scarring, and lasting emotional trauma. If you have been the victim of assault and battery, you can bring a lawsuit against the wrongdoer to get compensation for physical and psychological injuries you suffered.

Is Assault And Battery a Criminal Or Tort Claim?

Many people think of assault and battery as criminal offences. But they are also “torts” which give rise to civil claims for damages (i.e., a personal injury lawsuit). So, there can be both criminal and civil consequences for a wrongdoer. That been said, these two types of court proceedings are independent from each other. You can bring an assault and battery claim for personal injury damages even if the person who assaulted you is not charged or convicted of a crime in relation to the incident, and your personal injury lawsuit can succeed even if the wrongdoer is found innocent following a criminal trial.

What Are Assault And Battery Claims In The Personal Injury Context?

The legal definition of assault is different in criminal and civil proceedings, which can cause some confusion. The tort of battery is what is commonly referred to as the crime of assault. “Assault” and “battery” are also distinguishable from each other in the personal injury context:

  • “Assault” is the threat of immediate harm or unwanted physical contact. The tort of assault can occur without actual touching or physical harm to the victim. It is the creation of the reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact.
  • “Battery” is actual, intentional physical contact inflicted by one person on another person. The tort of battery includes any unwanted (i.e., non-consensual) physical contact. Punching, kicking, stabbing, shooting, pushing, and hitting with a stick or rock can give rise to a civil claim in battery. Because this tort includes any non-consensual contact, unwanted sexual contact and medical procedures performed without consent constitute battery. Common defences to the tort of battery include consent and self-defence.

When it comes to personal injury claims, assault can occur without battery, and battery can occur without an assault. But in the majority of cases, both assault and battery happen, usually in quick succession. If a battery has occurred, the assault tends to be less important in the context of an assault and battery claim since the quantum of damages for the assault will be relatively small.

Damages For Assault And Battery

A wrongdoer is liable for all of the direct consequences of their actions. If you were the victim of assault and/or battery, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses,
  • Costs for future treatment, therapy, medication, etc.,
  • Loss of past wages,
  • Loss of future income earning capacity,
  • Your pain and suffering due to physical and/or psychological injuries,
  • Aggravated and/or punitive damages.

Talk To Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers

Simpson, Thomas & Associates has proudly and diligently served the victims of accidents and wrongful incidents in BC for over 50 years. If you have been the victim of assault and battery and want to know about making a personal injury claim or how a personal injury lawyer can help you, do not hesitate to reach out to our legal team. You can call 604-243-5825 or fill out our online form to request a free legal consultation.

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