Assault and battery are generally considered as crimes but victims of these criminal offenses must be aware of the personal injury claim. If the assault and/or battery conviction results into jailtime, a personal injury claim can be awarded to the victim as compensation for pain and suffering, medical costs and the injuries and wounds sustained.
It is important for victims of assault and/or battery to seek advice from a physical injury lawyer to make sure that compensation can be claimed for the damages particularly for long-term care and treatment. Physical injuries may heal within a short period of time but the psychological and emotional trauma may require extensive therapy to resolve. A physical injury lawyer will ensure that all the costs of hospitalizations and medical bills are recovered to achieve true justice.
Criminal and civil liabilities for assault and/or battery
There are various degrees of assault and battery but they fall under two basic categories – simple and aggravated. The basis is the nature and certain acts that were committed by the accused person. Assault on protected classes of people like pregnant women, the elderly and disabled and persons who provide service to the community is treated more severely by the courts. Charges of assault and/or battery may be considered as felony if it includes robbing a place or person, raping someone or committing the crime with a deadly weapon. If the victim suffers from a serious injury with wounds that are permanent and disfiguring, the sentence after conviction can be increased by the judge.
Assault and/or battery crimes are subjected to both civil and criminal liabilities. Criminal liability refers to the punishment imposed on the accused while civil liability is used to make sure that compensation will be obtained by the victim who has sustained wounds. If the accused has harmed the victim in a particularly harmful and intentional manner, the victim will be entitled to compensation for the medical expenses as well as the pain and suffering that occurred during the crime. The court and jurors will determine whether the act is intentional when the case goes to trial. Additional compensation may be provided to the victim for emotional stress, punitive damages and similar compensatory pay-out.
Defences to assault and/or battery charges
States consider certain factors in determining fault in a personal injury claim. In many cases, the defendant will hire an expert criminal defence lawyer to prove that his client is acting in self-defence. To determine the validity of the self-defence claim, a fact finder will look at which party is the original aggressor and whether the defendant acted reasonably to defend himself or others from the attack. The defendant can also claim that his actions were purely accidental without any intent to commit a crime.
It is important to have legal representation if you are charged with assault and/or battery because it is a criminal offense with severe penalties and serious consequences to your life. Only a competent criminal defence lawyer can help you fight the assault charge, protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome.