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Assault and Battery in Personal Injury Cases

Posted on in Personal Injury

Wisconsin accident attorney, injury liability, Wisconsin injury lawyerCommonly, when you hear the term personal injury, you may think of an individual involved in a car accident or someone slipping and falling. However, acts that are intentional, instead of accidental, can lead to personal injury cases as well. For instance, assault and battery are intentional torts that form the basis of lawsuits in civil and criminal courts. Typically, the victim of a battery can sue the offender seeking compensation for any personal injuries the victim sustained as a result of the battery.

Assault and battery are defined differently under tort law than under criminal law. Tort law defines assault as any intentional act that is meant to cause a reasonable apprehension of imminent and harmful or offensive contact, while battery has the same elements as assault, but requires a harmful or offensive contact against another. Under Wisconsin criminal law, assault is punished as an attempted battery and the crime of battery can be aggravated by many different circumstances, vastly increasing the associated punishment.

Breaking Down Assault and Battery in the Personal Injury Context

Regarding assault, when any individual performs an intentional act meant to cause a “reasonable apprehension of imminent or harmful contact” with your person, and you reasonably believe you are about to get hurt, this is considered assault.

For example, if you were looking at Johnny, and Johnny threw a rock at you, and you moved out of the way and were hit by a moving automobile, Johnny would be liable for your personal injuries under the theory of assault because you reasonably believed the rock Johnny threw was going to make imminent contact with your body. But, if Johnny threw the rock while trying to scare you, and the rock made contact with you, and you fell and broke your elbow, Johnny would be liable to you for battery.

Johnny’s assault on you becomes a battery under the doctrine of transferred intent. Johnny intended to commit assault on you when he threw the rock to try and scare you. But, when Johnny hit you with the rock, it became a battery.

Damages in Assault and Battery Personal Injury Cases

When you suffer injuries as a result of an assault or battery, you can recover compensatory, nominal or punitive damages depending on the circumstances. Compensatory damages compensate you, the victim, for medical expenses, home healthcare, or even lost wages. Nominal wages are minimal, small awards that acknowledge the pain and suffering the victim went through. If the court or jury determines the defendant acted recklessly or outrageously, you would be entitled to punitive damages that are meant to punish the defendant and deter any similar conduct in the future.

It is important to remember that you have three years from the date of injury to file your personal injury claim. If you wait too long, you will not be able to recover. If you were the victim of an assault or battery and suffered personal injuries as a result, you should contact an experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorney who will aggressively pursue the individual responsible for your injuries and get you the compensation you deserve.

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