Assault and Battery

assault-and-battery-injured.jpgAssault and Battery cases are many times prosecuted by the local District Attorney in criminal court. Victims of these crimes also have a remedy in civil court for monetary damages, through a personal injury attorney. While the State will punish a perpetrator for his crimes, through the civil court system victims can sue their attackers for money damages.

An assault does not require a physical touching. All that is required is that the victim has a reasonable perception that harm is about to take place. There does not have to be an actual possibility of harm. Good examples include someone using a toy gun to make a threat, or using strong language threatening to harm the victim.

Battery is when there is a physical touching. California Penal Code Section 240 defines battery as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another”. Even spitting can qualify as a battery if surrounding circumstances are severe enough.

The California Attorney General reported that in 2006 there were almost 324,000 assault crimes in the State.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations in California for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident. (Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. Section 335.1). This means if the claim is not resolved, and a lawsuit is not filed within the two- year period, the claimant will be forever barred from seeking money damages for personal injuries.

Note that in cases against a public entity (e.g. city, state, school district, police departments, etc) have specific claims-filing requirements. Under most circumstances a claim must be filed with the governmental entity within six months of the date of harm. Accordingly, for any cases where such an entity may be a defendant, it is important to consult with an attorney before the six-month period ends.

If you have questions about an assault or battery case, please submit your confidential question online, or call Walton Law Firm for a free and private consultation. We can be reached toll-free at 866-607-1325, or locally at 760-571-5500.

Useful Links

California Attorney General

California Penal Code for Assault Crimes