The terms “assault” and “battery” are often used interchangeably. However, in tort (injury) law, they have distinct meanings and one can occur without the other. Generally, an “assault” is an attempt, by force or threats, without any actual physical injury or contact. A “battery” requires actual physical injury or contact. This is different than criminal law, in which there is no act of “battery” and a person either commits an assault, which would be contact, or an attempted assault, which is an attempt to assault someone without an actual assault occurring.

Civil assault requires a person to threaten, either by words or actions, to physically injury someone.

It further requires a person to have the “apparent ability” to do so. For example, threats over a telephone would not be a civil assault because, assuming the people are in separate locations, the person making the threat does not have the ability to immediately injury the other person.

A common defense to a claim of battery is that the contact was consented to, such as a mutual fight.

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If you have been injured as a result of an assault and battery contact Lapin Law Offices for a free initial consultation.