Intentional Torts and Assault and Battery

By: Law Offices of David Drexler  06/17/2015
Keywords: Personal Injury, Car Accident Lawyer, Car Accident Attorney

What does “intentional torts” mean in assault and battery - and how does it affect a damage award in civil cases?

No one should be subjected to violence or the threat of violence. But when it happens, the victim can and should pursue damages in civil court.

When someone is physically hurt by the intentions of another, it rises to a legal definition that is more serious than if the harm were caused by mere negligence. For example, it’s bad enough if a careless driver injures a pedestrian due to texting while driving – that’s unintentional, technically negligence. But if the driver were an enraged former paramour who meant to hit the pedestrian, it falls under the definition of an “intentional tort.”

Such injuries and the incident that led to those injuries may involve criminal charges, particularly when the crime was clearly intentional. But regardless of whether it involved criminal charges, regardless if there was a conviction or acquittal, and even regardless if it was negligent or intentional, the victim can pursue compensation in a civil court.

A “criminal attorney” is a lawyer who defends the perpetrator in criminal court. For the victim to sue the perpetrator in civil court, he or she would hire a personal injury attorney that specializes in intentional torts, such as assault and battery. So often are people intentionally assaulted in large cities like Los Angeles that many Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are marketing themselves as “Los Angeles assault lawyers”.

What is important to know is that punishment in both criminal and civil courts in California are generally greater when the injuries were done with intent. A criminal court judge may impose sentences involving fines (up to $10,000) and incarceration (six months to four years, the most serious charges for battery or assault with a deadly weapon leading to the latter). The criminal court judge may assess the situation, looking at the suffering and financial losses of the victim and the financial wherewithal of the tortfeasor (the person who committed the wrongful act). From that, the judge has the option to make a punitive damage award, forcing the perpetrator to make payments to the victim.

In civil court, the victim more directly seeks compensation. Of note, civil courts require only a majority of the jury to vote in favor of the victim; in criminal court, the jury must be unanimous.

But the challenge of intentional tort cases is that the intentions of the wrongdoer are sometimes elusive. The burden on the plaintiff is to prove the following:

There was intent to harm

The act occurred and was non-consensual

The act was harmful or offensive

The act caused injury

The injury created a cost in the life of the victim

In California legal circles there is an argument for identifying early in a trial how deep the assets are of the defendant. This would enable plaintiffs to know if the lawsuit would be financially worth pursuing. However, in all courts that official discovery of assets takes place only in the sentencing phase.

A qualified personal injury attorney with experience in assault and battery lawsuits should be contacted as soon as possible after an incident where harm occurred. Witness and evidence might be available then to help win the case.

Keywords: Car Accident Attorney, Car Accident Lawyer, motorcycle accident lawyer, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death Lawyer

Contact Law Offices of David Drexler


Print this page

Other news and updates from Law Offices of David Drexler


Wrongful Police Shootings - What the Law Says

The law is very clear in how it treats police shootings that end in wrongful death or catastrophic injury. The


Preeminent Attorney David Drexler Instructs, Impresses at Prestigious Legal Conference

Renowned Los Angeles personal injury attorney David Drexler delivered a presentation, "Attorney Fee Disputes" at the 36th Annual Convention of


Car Accidents and Product Failure

Who is responsible in car accidents if product failure is partially to blame? California’s pure comparative negligence rule divvies up


Reasons to Vote "Yes" on Proposition 46

Enacted in 1975, the strict limitations on the amount of money victims of medical malpractice can recover did not prevent


Dog Bites and the Law: Liability Insurance for Dog Owners

Dog Owners Are Advised to Obtain Liability Insurance to Cover Dog Bite Litigation According to the insurance industry, a third


Assault and Battery: Criminal Versus Civil Action

Assault and battery victims can be compensated for their injuries Athreat of violence is criminal, but actual violence carries greater


What Sexual Harassment Claims Can Arise When Co-Workers Date?

Presently, there are no sex harassment laws in California by statutes (under FEHA, the Fair Employment Housing Act) on the


Medical Malpractice: Hire a Trial Attorney

A large percent of medical malpractice cases are handled out of court. That is, the insurance company for the defendant


How a Medical Malpractice Attorney Decides to Accept a Case

The practice of medical malpractice law falls under the area of personal injury law and practiced by a personal injury


Preeminent Los Angeles Medical Malpractice Attorney David Drexler Urges a “Yes” Vote on California P

Los Angeles, CA - October 25, 2014 – Attorney David Drexler, a preeminent medical malpractice lawyer in Los Angeles, is


Sexual Orientation, Discrimination and the Law

A personal injury attorney can play a key role in the bringing of claims against an employer who actively or


More Accolades for Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney David Drexler

Los Angeles, CA - September 14, 2008 – Los Angeles-based personal injury and medical malpractice attorney David Drexler was featured


Establishing Fault in Slip-And-Fall Accidents

Falls due to an uneven sidewalk or a greasy floor can cause serious injury. Negligent building maintenance may be to


Dog Bites and the Law: Adoption Organization Liability

Adoption Organizations are Sometimes Responsible for Injury-Causing Dogs Pet adoption should not require families to end up hiring a dog