Assault and Battery: What Is It, and When Can You File a Personal Injury Claim?

Written by The Law Offices of Gregg Durlofsky on . Posted in Personal Injury

When people think of assault and battery, they immediately think of severe violence and a bitter court trial. Television has given us a distinct image of what assault and battery are, and most may believe they start with a solid punch.

But what are assault and battery, really? And is it always a good idea to file personal injury claim for assault and battery? Below, we’ll discuss what assault and battery are, when you should file a claim, and what damages you can be compensated for.


Assault is the apprehension of intentional harm, and it doesn’t have to result in physical injury. Essentially, the victim in an assault situation would feel as if they’re about to be injured or abused. He or she would genuinely believe they’re about to be subjected to harmful physical touch.

For instance, consider two neighbors that are at odds. If one neighbor holds up a fist and shouts a convincing threat, it can be considered assault as long as the other neighbor perceives that he or she is about to be physically harmed.

Or, if someone aims a disguised toy gun at someone else with the intent of frightening the threatened individual, it can be labeled assault. The victim simply has to believe the weapon is real and that they’re about to be physically harmed.


On the other hand, battery is usually when a person offensively touches or harms another individual. While assault is the apprehension of such contact, battery is the actual physical act. So, if two neighbors are having a quarrel and one punches the other, it would be considered battery. 

However, battery doesn’t always have to mean direct contact between two people. If someone intentionally throws a heavy or hard object at another and injures the other person, the situation would still be labeled battery.

The victim and the perpetrator don’t necessarily have to be in the same place at the same time for the incident to be considered battery. For instance, an individual can lay a harmful trap for another, and if the intended victim is injured by the trap, the situation is considered battery.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

So, if you’ve been a victim of assault or battery, when should you file a claim? When is it worth it to do so?

Generally, if you aren’t physically injured or severely affected emotionally or mentally, filing a claim might not be worth it. The compensation you may receive for all the trouble and effort can be too small to even consider filing a claim.

But if you were hospitalized as a result of assault and battery and have mental or emotional trauma, filing a claim may be worth the hassle. Also, if you already experienced physical, mental, or emotional problems before the assault, you may be able to pursue a more successful claim than another individual because the event might have affected you more severely.

While assault and battery is considered a crime in most states, a criminal charge against your attacker won’t prevent you from filing a personal injury claim and getting the compensation you’re entitled to. If the district attorney files for criminal prosecution, you can file a personal injury lawsuit at the same time.

Suing a Responsible Party

Again, when you want to file a personal injury lawsuit for assault and battery, you have to consider if the monetary value is worth the hassle. You might also consider if your attacker has the money to compensate you.

If the perpetrator doesn’t have the necessary funds, you may be left with nothing in the end. And insurance policies don’t normally cover intentional harm as part of their policies, so you probably won’t be reimbursed by your attacker’s insurance company either.

However, if another party is partially responsible for the assault and battery, you may be able to seek compensation from them. For instance, if you were attacked in a dark or dimly lit parking lot, you may be able file a claim against the establishment that owns the parking lot.

Collecting Compensation

The seriousness of assault and battery can vary between every case, so there isn’t always a set list of damages that apply to every assault and battery situation. However, some of the related damages include:

  • Loss of income
  • Medical bill costs
  • Property repair costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

Depending on your case, you may also be able to seek compensation for future costs as well. For instance, if you need medical attention for your injuries throughout the duration of your life, you may be able to get reimbursed for those future charges.


When you’re a victim of assault and battery, life can become more difficult and medically challenging. If you find yourself the victim of intentional harm, seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. He or she can help you determine how much compensation you’re entitled to. Your lawyer can also help you build a solid case against your attacker.

Gregg Durlofsky Law Offices

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Bethlehem, PA 18018

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