Assault and Battery
The law considers an assault and battery to be an invasion of the personal security of the victim for which the wrongdoer is required to pay for damages. The determination of the amount of damages to which a victim might be entitled if a defendant is found civilly liable is usually made by a jury. Generally, a plaintiff is entitled to COMPENSATORY DAMAGES that compensate for injuries that are both directly and indirectly related to the wrong. Examples of compensatory damages include damages for pain and suffering, damages for medical expenses, and damages for lost earnings resulting from the victim's inability to work. Nominal damages, given although there is no harm at all, or merely a slight one, may also be awarded in an assault and battery action. Some jurisdictions allow the award of PUNITIVE DAMAGES. They are often given when the offense was committed wantonly or maliciously to punish the defendant for the wrongful act and to deter others from engaging in similar acts in the future. The defendant might additionally be subject to criminal liability.
If a defendant is found criminally liable, the punishment is imprisonment, a fine, or both. The amount of time a defendant must serve in prison depends upon the statute in the particular jurisdiction. When the offense is committed with an intent to murder or do serious harm, it is called aggravated assault and battery. An aggravated assault and battery is often committed with a dangerous weapon, and it is punishable as a felony in all states.