Assault and battery are two different crimes that often occur concurrently. Both of these can result in personal injury for the person who is threatened and attacked. First, you should look at the two crimes separately in order to understand if you have suffered from assault and / or battery.
Definition of Assault
Assault occurs when one person threatens or attempts a physical attack upon another person in a way that makes it seem like the victim will indeed suffer bodily harm. The victim must feel under immediate threat, such as with someone holding up a fist for a punch to the face. It does not count as assault if the attacker threatens to go get a weapon before coming back to harm the other person.
There are several different types of assault, including physical, sexual, and verbal attacks. However, in some cases, the perpetrator of assault might actually commit aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is more serious than plain assault; it threatens more serious damage, such as rape, maiming, or murder. Sometimes, the type of weapon used by the assailant can determine if it is aggravated or regular assault. For instance, guns are usually seen as more dangerous than a club.
Assault, in addition to being a criminal charge, is also a viable cause of action for a civil lawsuit against another person. It differs from a negligence lawsuit insofar as negligence lawsuits fall under the realm of unintentional torts, whereas assault is an intentional tort. What many people do not realize about assault, however, is that no physical contact is necessary. Instead, only the threat of imminent danger is required to bring a claim of assault.
Although physical contact is not necessary, someone physically harming another can certainly qualify as assault. In the event of actual physical harm, these cases are typically easy to prove, however it is still important to contact a personal injury lawyer in order to ensure that you receive just compensation. In cases where physical injury did not occur, it is even more necessary to contact a lawyer experienced in these matters, because the definitions involved can vary wildly.
What is considered “threatening” and “imminent” is highly subjective and can often depend on the judge and how the situation is presented. Typically, a threat is considered imminent if the action that is being suggested would cause physical harm had it had been carried out. Someone brandishing a knife as if to stab someone would be considered an imminent threat; if the stabbing actually occurred, physical harm would almost definitely result.
Definition of Battery
Battery is taking assault a step further. Whereas assault can just be the threat of violence, battery is the legal name given to physical contact that occurs without the victim’s consent. With battery, the attacker has the intent to harm or damage the victim, and does so. Accidental or unintentional contact does not usually count as battery, such as a passersby getting caught and possibly hit on the sidelines of fight.
Basically, assault is the intent to cause damage to someone, and battery is actually carrying out that threat. Because you must have the intent to hurt someone in order to commit battery, these crimes appear together.
If you or someone you know has suffered from assault and battery, you should consider contacting an attorney to find out what to do next. Contact the New York City personal injury lawyers at the law offices of Orlow, Orlow & Orlow, P.C.