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Civil Liability for Battery in California

Battery is an intentional harmful or offensive touching of another person without his consent.

Frequently used in a single phrase and often thought of as one offense, the terms “assault” and “battery” are two separate torts. These two offenses are usually committed almost alongside, that is, an assault is immediately followed by a battery.

Though, an assault doesn’t include a battery since it is just the apprehension of a contact that if made would establish a battery. Although usually, a battery is a completed assault, it can still be committed without an accompanying assault.

Elements of Battery

According to CACI 1300 the plaintiff must be able to prove all the following elements to establish the claim:

  • The defendant touched the plaintiff or cause the plaintiff to be touched with the intent to harm or offend him
  • The plaintiff did not consent to the touching
  • The plaintiff was harmed or offended by the defendant’s conduct
  • A reasonable person in plaintiff’s situation would have been offended by the touching.

A battery is a violation of a person’s interest in freedom from intentional illegal, offensive and harmful unconsented contacts with his person. To successfully establish a claim for battery a plaintiff must show that the defendant intentionally subjected him to an offensive or harmful touching which actually lead to injuries.

In case a victim doesn’t want to be hit, punched, pushed, kicked, or struck by another person or by some object that the person uses to contact the victim, a battery is committed.

Civil Liability

Civil liability means that the attacker can be held liable for payment of the damages to the victim in a lawsuit, as opposed to criminal liability when the attacker faces punishment for a crime. In a civil lawsuit, the victim will have the burden of proving that the attacker caused him harm and injuries. The victim has a right to file a lawsuit against the attacker whether or not he was convicted of a crime of battery and against other parties who may have contributed to the circumstance leading to the battery.

Damages for Injuries and Harm

As mentioned above when harm and injuries were caused by an intentional act of battery, the victim has a right to sue the attacker for the following measures of damages:

  • Economic damages: The victim can recover all reasonably associated out-of-pocket losses, such as loss of income, medical bills, and personal property damage.
  • Non-Economic damages: These damages include recovery for the pain and mental suffering that is associated with the injuries caused to the victim.
  • Punitive damages: In contrast with negligence cases, offenses with intentional acts causing harm to trigger the right to recover punitive damages from the attacker. Punitive damages have the aim to punish the violent attacker.
  • Wrongful death action: The victim’s successors can bring a wrongful death action against the violent offender in case the victim has died as a result of damages, caused during the battery.

Are you in need of more individualized information about civil liability for battery in California? Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at KAASS Law are here to take your call.


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