Georgia Personal Injury Claims Based on Assault and Battery
Most people recognize that they may have a legal claim for damages arising out of a car accident, slip and fall or other incident caused by a failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent injury to others. Fewer people know that intentional misconduct such as an assault or battery also may constitute a basis for pursuing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. If you are threatened or physically injured in a fight, attack or other incident in which physical force is exerted or threatened against you, you may have a right to financial compensation.
While assault and/or battery are thought of by many as a criminal offense, they may also constitute a basis for imposing civil liability in a variety of scenarios that include but are not limited to the following:
- Sexual Assault
- Domestic violence
- Attack involving a weapon
- Physical fight
The types of recovery that may be available include compensatory damages for medical bills, lost earnings and impaired earning capacity. Even if these damages are not significant, a party that commits assault or battery may be liable for damages for violating your rights or punitive damages to punish particularly objectionable conduct. If punitive damages are appropriate they may well exceed all other forms of damages combined. While there is no assurance that you will be awarded punitive damages, they are more likely to be awarded in a case of intentional assault or battery than one involving negligent conduct arising from inattention or carelessness.
While assault and battery are closely related and asserted together in a Georgia personal injury lawsuit, but they are separate and distinct causes of action. While most cases of battery also will constitute an assault, an assault may occur without a battery. In basic terms, a battery involves engaging in a harmful or offensive contact against another whereas an assault involves putting someone in apprehension of such a harmful or offensive conduct. Assault is sometimes referred to as an “attempted battery.” A crude example might involve a fist fight where a party punches at the face of another and misses with the first punch but connects with the second punch. While the missed punch would typically constitute an assault, the second punch would constitute both an assault and battery.
One misconception among those who experience an act that might constitute assault or battery is that the defendant needs to intend to cause injury. However, there is no requirement that the defendant intend to cause harm so a party may be liable for battery even if the offensive or harmful conduct was only a joke intended to scare the plaintiff.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a physical altercation or sexual assault, our experienced Georgia personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
Montlick & Associates has been protecting the rights of injured people for over 37 years! No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.