What is Assault and Battery?

Assault and battery are actually two separate legal claims. Most commonly, they go together, but they do not have to. It depends on the circumstances of your injuries; you may have a claim for assault, a claim for battery or both. Both claims require that the assailant intended to harm the victim. The harm may be to induce fear in the victim, or actual physical injury. Assault occurs when a victim is threatened with physical injury/violence. The victim must actually fear that physical harm to them will take place. A verbal threat may not be enough to show assault. Additionally, the fear of immediate harm, that the victim felt, must be reasonable for the situation. The court may determine what was reasonable in the situation based on the facts of the case presented to the court.

Likewise, battery is when the injury, in fact, takes place. Battery is most often the result of an assault. When a battery takes place, the assailant does not have to be the person who came in direct contact with the victim. However, the physical injuries sustained must have been caused by the defendant’s actions. It is enough that the defendant’s actions created a situation that caused the victim’s injuries. An example may be if the defendant was playing a practical joke on the plaintiff and as a result of the joke, the plaintiff was physically injured. The defendant did not intend for the plaintiff to be hurt, but did intend the joke, which resulted in circumstances that caused injury to the victim.