You catch viral videos online showing customers engaging in physical fights over Black Friday sale items. On television reality programs housewives and others get right up in each other’s faces to shout profanities and pull hair and punch one another. These altercations are shocking and sadly sometimes presented as entertainment, but they also are incidents of assault and battery.
You may be familiar with assaults and batteries as criminal offenses. But if you are assaulted or battered you may have a legal case for a civil assault and battery. Keep in mind that the harm you suffered did not have to be at the hands of a stranger. As demonstrated in the examples given above, you can be assaulted or battered by someone you know—a coworker, a neighbor, a family member.
Civil case vs. criminal case
Whether the case is criminal or civil, the elements of what constitutes an unlawful A&B are the same. A difference is the standard of proof. In criminal matters the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt; in a civil case, the standard is by a preponderance of the evidence—a much more accessible standard.
Preponderance of evidence requires that at least 50 percent of the evidence presented in your case must be persuasively in support of the facts you asserted. For example, you sue your neighbor for civil A&B stating that she kicked you, breaking your leg, during a disagreement you had with her about her dog pooping on your lawn. As the plaintiff, the person bringing the suit, you have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence in your case that your version of the facts is true and the defendant is liable for your damages.
Damages instead of incarceration
Another crucial difference is with a civil case you may be awarded damages in compensation for your injuries, medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. In contrast, if the person who injured you is found guilty of a criminal charge, he or she will be punished according to the penal system and could be ordered to pay a fine, perform community service, or be sentenced to a term in prison.
An assault occurs when someone acts in a threatening or menacing manner toward someone and the threatened person is in fear of bodily harm. A battery occurs when the threatening person actually touches the other person. If the touching results in personal injury, the person who was touched, or battered, can bring a legal cause of action against the batterer.
You can bring a civil action in addition to any criminal charges that may be prosecuted against your assaulter. Or where the assault and battery on you lacks witnesses or other sufficient evidence to support a criminal charge, you have the option to bring your civil action.
The lawyers of Angell Law Firm are personal injury experts. If you have been injured as the result of an assault and battery committed against you, you have legal recourse in addition to any criminal offenses that may have been charged against your assailant. Call (770) 217-4954 today to discuss your legal options. The Angell Law Firm is located in Atlanta and serves Chatham County, including Savannah; Clarke County including Athens; Cobb County, including Marietta; DeKalb County, including Decatur and Stone Mountain; Fulton County, including Atlanta, College Park, and Roswell; Gwinnett County including Buford, Lawrenceville, and Norcross; and Oconee County, including Watkinsville.