Assault, Battery and Intentional Torts
By FindLaw Staff | Legally reviewed by Garrett Monteagudo, Esq. | Last reviewed December 15, 2022
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Injuries can occur for a variety of reasons. They can happen because another person was negligent or reckless, or because the person wanted to intentionally inflict an injury.
Intentional torts occur when a person intentionally acts in a certain way that leads to another person's injury. Some common examples of intentional torts are assault, battery, trespass, and false imprisonment.
FindLaw's section on Assault, Battery and Intentional Torts provides information about the various acts that are considered intentional torts. It also addresses the elements that a victim must prove to prevail in their case.
Types of Intentional Torts
A tort is a civil wrong that causes harm to another person. Torts include a wide variety of actions, and the legal field of torts is split up into many subcategories.
One of the ways torts are divided is by the mental state of the wrongdoer. When a person has the intent to perform a particular action, it's categorized as an intentional tort.
There are various types of intentional torts, each with its own elements. Typical intentional torts are battery, assault, false imprisonment, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, invasion of privacy, trespass, and conversion.
Assault and Battery
Contrary to popular belief, assault doesn't require that the defendant make physical contact with their victim. Instead, assault is an intentional attempt or threat to inflict injury that places another person in fear of imminent bodily harm.
Battery, on the other hand, is the intentional touching of another person in a harmful or offensive way, without consent. Although people seem to always say "assault and battery" together, they are separate torts. It's possible to have one without the other.
It's important to understand that the intent required in an assault or battery is not the intent to cause injury. Instead, it's the intent to perform the act that led to the assault or battery. For example, in order for a civil battery to occur, all a person needs to do is touch the victim without the victim's consent. It's important to note that this is different from criminal battery, which requires the intent to do harm.
Battery in Special Situations
Many states have recognized battery in special situations. These situations can range from medical situations to sports to domestic violence.
A medical battery can occur if a doctor performs a non-emergency procedure without obtaining consent first. This would be a medical battery because it would be an unauthorized touching of the plaintiff's person.
Another example of a battery in a special situation is when toxic chemicals are involved. Although toxic torts usually involve claims of strict liability or negligence, claims of toxic battery have been successful in recent years. If a company illegally disposes of chemicals that result in harm or injury to people, it could be considered a toxic battery. As previously stated, the company doesn't need to have the intention to harm people. The company only just needs to have the intention to dispose of the chemicals.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or someone close to you has been injured as a result of an assault, battery, or another intentional tort, you may want to consult with a local personal injury attorney to see if you can recover for your injuries. It's in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as you can after your injury to avoid exceeding the time limit in which a personal injury lawsuit can be filed.
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