The majority of personal injury suits occur because of accidents, but some cases are the result of intentional harm caused by another person. Physical harm caused to one person due to the intentional actions of another person is referred to as assault and/or battery. Assault/battery charges can form the foundation of a personal injury case.

For these cases, the victim of the assault and battery will sue the perpetrator and seek reimbursement for any damages they receive, whether it is from personal injuries or any other damages that occurred because of the scenario. Both “assault” and “battery” have unique definitions when it comes to both civil and criminal cases.


In most circumstances, “assault” is often defined as an intentional act that’s supposed to cause the victim to believe they are going to be hurt or touched in some harmful capacity.

Assault does not require physical contact on its own, and there are many different circumstances that can be considered assault, such as making a fist and threatening someone with harm.

or even pointing a realistic looking toy guy at someone and threatening to shoot them. Determining assault can be complicated and every situation is different. The most important thing to remember is that assault doesn’t require actual physical contact, but only the threat of harm.


While assault requires a threat of harm, battery is defined as harmful or offensive contact with the victim. There’s a few ways that this can actually play out. It can be immediate and directly targeting the victim, such as a person shoving or hitting someone else. It can be immediate but not directed specifically at the target, such as an object being thrown and hitting the victim. It can also be both indirect and not immediate, such as a trap that’s been set that another person falls into some time later.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the contact does not need to actually cause injury to the victim in civil law. The only thing that’s necessary is for the contact to be inappropriate or offensive and for the offending party to have intentionally caused it.

In many circumstances, assault and battery both occur from the same event and the two charges are regularly seen together in the media. It’s important to understand that these are two separate charges that can and do occur separately. Threatening violence but not actually following through with it can be considered assault without battery, while offensive contact with someone else before they realize what’s happening can be considered battery without assault. It is also important to remember that the severity of the charge will determine the penalties.

Assault and Battery Damages & Defenses

The seriousness of civil assault and battery cases and their possible damage awards will vary widely depending on the circumstances. In many instances, it may not even be worth the trouble in court if no damage was done, even if the assault and battery did technically take place. This isn’t true in all cases however, for more serious cases involving significant harm/damage, pursuing a claim in court may be the best option.

It’s not always guaranteed that the victim of an assault and battery will receive compensation, even if they can prove the assault and battery did take place. There are a variety of defenses that the accused party can claim as an excuse for their actions such as:


When the parties agree to the possibility of getting hurt, such as in contact sports.


An example could be a police officer using force to detain someone during an arrest.


When harm was caused to protect themselves or another person.

Criminal assault and battery cases

Assault and battery cases can be common in civil courts, but are also commonly get tried in criminal courts as well. In addition to paying the victim for any damage caused, the perpetrator of an assault and/or battery may also have to face government imposed fines or even face incarceration, and this would all be for the same incident.

How we can help you

Assault and battery are serious charges that should be handled in court. If you or a loved one has been the victim of an assault or battery, don’t gamble with the outcome of your case. Call Tucker, Nong and Associates to speak with a qualified personal injury lawyer. 

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Yuvora Nong
Helping VA, MD & Washington D.C. clients with all of their immigration law legal needs since 1997.