San Diego Assault & Battery Attorney
In addition to a defendant being criminally prosecuted for committing an assault or battery, a victim may also file a civil lawsuit against the assailant. The criminal prosecution process is intended to penalize the defendant for the alleged illegal acts, while in contrast, the civil prosecution is intended to make victims whole by monetarily compensating them for their injuries.
The Elements of Battery in Civil Cases
Generally speaking, the elements of a civil battery mirror those of criminal battery. In order for the plaintiff to prevail in a civil action for battery, he or she must prove the following elements:
- That the defendant touched the plaintiff or caused the plaintiff to be touched, with the intent to harm or offend him or her;
- That the plaintiff did not consent to the touching;
- That the plaintiff was harmed or offended by the defendant’s conduct; and
- That a reasonable person in the plaintiff’s situation would have been offended by the touching.
The Elements of Assault in Civil Cases
Unlike battery, the commission of a civil assault does not require the assailant to have any physical contact with the victim. In order for the plaintiff to prevail in a civil action for assault, he or she must prove the following elements:
- That the defendant acted, intending to cause harmful or offensive contact;
- That the plaintiff reasonably believed that he or she was about to be touched in a harmful
or offensive manner.
- That the defendant threatened to touch the plaintiff in a harmful or offensive manner;
- That it reasonably appeared to the plaintiff that the defendant was about to carry out the threat;
- That the plaintiff did not consent to the defendant’s conduct;
- That the plaintiff was harmed; and
- That the defendant’s conduct was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.
Damages in Civil Assault and Battery Cases
Should the plaintiff prevail in the assault and/or battery suit, he or she can be compensated for the expenses and injuries that flow from the defendant’s wrongful acts. This includes compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering (general damages).Victims of assault and/or batter are also eligible to receive punitive damages which are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter other individuals from engaging in similar conduct in the future.