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Assaults and the Civil Law: A Brief Guide

Everyone who is assaulted by another person has the right to file criminal charges and receive justice. It's also possible, however, to take things a step further and file a civil suit against the individual in question in order to get financial compensation for your injuries. Here is a look at this important and sometimes overlooked legal option.


Most people think of an assault as simply a physical attack on a person, but the legal definition is different. The legal definition of assault is that an assault happens when a person puts you in fear of imminent harm by doing something threatening or making a verbal threat. A battery occurs when you are actually physically harmed. 

Many states use the term "assault and battery" to describe a physical attack by a person on another individual. Depending on the state where you file and the circumstances of the specific incident, you might sue the defendant for assault, battery, or assault and battery, with the latter being the most common.


To win an assault and battery civil case you must prove that you were harmed or that the perpetrator intended to harm you. You will need medical records showing the type of medical treatment you received and perhaps testimony from your doctor. Generally, if you did not receive injuries severe enough to require medical treatment, then your case is probably not worth pursuing. Also, you want to have any witnesses to the incident testify on your behalf. Another good idea is to keep a notebook or diary and record how the incident has negatively affected your daily life.


The type of compensation or damages you can receive from a successful personal injury lawsuit varies. You have the right to be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and other economic costs that you have entailed because of your injuries. You may also receive, in some instances, damages for "pain and suffering" that has resulted from the assault and battery. Pain and suffering are not easily determined, so it's important that you have a skilled attorney who can make a strong case that you deserve this type of compensation.

In many jurisdictions, you have the right to seek punitive damages, which are intended to punish the guilty party for their wrong action. 

Filing a civil suit based on an assault or an assault and battery involves a great deal of legal knowledge and experience. To be successful you will need the help and guidance of a trained personal injury attorney.

Contact a personal injury lawyer in your area today such as Cartee & Lloyd Attorneys At Law for more information.