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Assault and Battery – Know the Facts!

  • December 4, 2013

It is worth noting that there is a difference between assault and battery in relation to tort law. Assault is an act that creates fear of an imminent kind of attack, while battery is the actual attack or wrongful touching. In most cases, battery is the most popular form of personal injury claims, even if there is no physical injury that has been incurred. Take note that in case there is indirect wrongful touching, then the defendant can be charged against assault in personal injury claims. With the notable difference between assault and battery, it should be noted that criminal and tort laws in varying jurisdictions may be applied differently.

An assault is an apprehension of imminent contact whereby the plaintiff or the person targeted is well aware of any kind of clear or present danger as well as any threat of forcible body injury by another. Notably, an assault constitutes of three different elements:

1. an intentional act;

2. a situation that creates fear to the target;

3. the defendant is very capable of going ahead with the attack.

For a charge to be classified as an assault, then it must contain all the three elements mentioned above. It does not really matter whether the plaintiff or target sustained an injury or physical contact with the defendant.

On the other hand, the intentional or willful contact of one person against another is referred to as battery. This can be done through bodily contact of an object thrown or hurled against the other. In order for an act to be qualified as battery, it must be characterized by a harmful or offensive contact and the act should completed or consummated.

According to the law of torts, the plaintiff is not expected to consent to the acts of the defendant. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. In some situations, harmful physical contact could be anticipated like self defense acts, sports, whenever reasonable force has to be used in order to provide protection against bodily harm. Another exception is where people are provided with the privilege to apply force or threat so as to effect discipline like police arrests, property defense and parents spanking their kids. Take note that the plaintiff does not qualify to charge for battery or assault based on verbal provocations irrespective of how offensive or insulting.