Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

Assault and Battery

Assault and Battery are not just areas of criminal law-they're also part of tort law. This means that you might be able to bring personal injury lawsuits if you've been the victim of assault or battery. Although quite similar, assault and battery have some subtle differences. Assault is an intentional threat or attempt to inflict injury on a person, whereas battery is the intentional touching of, or application of force to, the body of another person, in a harmful or offensive manner, and without consent.

The one major difference between assault or battery as a crime and as a tort lies in the burden of proof. In a criminal case, the jury would have to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a tort case, also called a civil case, the burden of proof is preponderance of evidence.


Recently in Assault / Battery Category

Much was made of the 'enhanced interrogation techniques' employed by the U.S. military and contractors in terrorism investigations. Often considered torture, the interrogation program was at the center of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed against the alleged architects of that program, on behalf two men subjected to those techniques and the family of one man who froze to death in a CIA prison.

In what the ACLU says is a first for lawsuits involving CIA torture, the two defendants in the case, psychologists James Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen, have agreed to settle the lawsuit, for an undisclosed amount.

Whether it's an increase in dangerous equipment or tactics, a rise in citizen-police interactions and altercations, or just the ubiquity of cell phone and body cameras, the number of civil lawsuits filed against police officers, their departments, and cities has been skyrocketing. (This could also be due to the dearth of criminal charges filed against officers for misconduct.) At the same time, cities have been paying millions to settle police lawsuits.

While suing the police for injuries is possible, the process is different and can be somewhat more complicated than your average injury lawsuit. Here's what you need to know:

A woman who says her Airbnb host made sexually suggestive comments, used drugs in front of her, and ultimately sexually assaulted her is suing the company, claiming it failed to do a background check on the man and failed to disclose that it did not do background checks to users. According to her lawsuit, the man faced domestic violence charges and was enrolled in a pre-trail diversion program to avoid prosecution on those charges.

Airbnb, for its part, banned the man from the site following the woman's allegations. "The abhorrent behavior described has no place in our community and we will not tolerate it," said the company's global head of trust and risk management, Nick Shapiro. "We have been trying to support [the accuser] in any way we can."

Tasers are often viewed as a non-lethal alternative to subdue criminal suspects, but they are far from perfectly safe. Victims have suffered miscarriages, brain damage, and even death. Therefore, tasers should be used rarely and only with good reason.

It turns out that a man asking "What for?" while his hands are above his head and his back is facing police is not a good enough reason. Darsean Kelley got a $110,000 settlement from the city of Aurora, Colorado, without even having to file a lawsuit, after body camera footage showed officer an officer tasing him in the back.

When a juvenile detention center fails to protect the civil rights of the youth offenders allegedly being rehabilitated, they may be subjected to lawsuits brought by, or on behalf of, the offenders, their families, and/or court appointed guardians.

Although minors may not enjoy many of the same rights and privileges under the law, minors in custody still have basic civil rights, including equal protection, the freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to adequate/necessary medical care while in custody.

As such, when a juvenile detention center is found to be disregarding the rights of youth offenders, civil rights groups like the ACLU are compelled to sue to stop the violations. However, individual minors may also be able to file suit if they have been injured, subjected to violations of their individual civil rights, or abused, at detention centers.

A doctor licensed by the state of New York is being sued by his former girlfriend due to allegedly drugging her with Plan B without her consent, or even her knowledge. Plan B is an over-the-counter birth control drug that allows a woman to take the pill after having unprotected sexual intercourse.

The civil lawsuit is seeking $5 million in damages as a result of the shockingly horrific conduct alleged. The complaint explains that the girlfriend found the box for the drug and asked her then-boyfriend about it, expecting to find out about an affair. However, as alleged in the complaint, he came clean and explained that he slipped the drug in her drink because he knew she would never agree to take it.

Dr. David Dao was one of four passengers on a United Airlines flight that was recently forced to give up his seat for UA employees. The airline claims that the flight was overbooked and it needed four passengers to give up seats for employees that needed to be at the plane's destination for work.

After Dr. Dao boarded, while in his seat, he was asked to exit the plane. When he refused, stating that he had patients to see the next day, police were called, and he was forcibly removed from his seat, and literally dragged down the plane's aisle and off the plane. The incident was captured by cell phone video by a few passengers, who posted the videos to social media.

Technically, the law permits a child to sue their parents as a result of child abuse. There are no special rules preventing this type of lawsuit. However, what a child considers to be abuse may not actually be legally considered abuse.

Parents are generally permitted to punish their children, which can include depriving children of luxuries such as video games, computers, internet access, a car, dating, seeing friends, or even dessert. A parent can make a child sit in the corner, go to their room, do chores, or worse, babysit their siblings. Depending on the manner in which it is done, even corporal punishment or spankings can be okay in the eyes of the law (so long as they are not excessive) .

Fortunately for the employee-victim of a senseless workplace attack meted out by his boss, a New York court of appeals has affirmed that the victim can seek damages directly against the boss. The case involves a New York golf club's employee, who was senselessly, and for no reason, hit in the groin by his boss with a golf club while at work. While the boss maintains that contact was minimal, it is also alleged he just laughed and walked away afterwards.

As a result of the blow, the employee had to have a testicle surgically removed. Clearly, this sort of conduct is beyond fathom. However, seemingly adding on to the unfathomability of the situation, the injured worker's boss, whom the victim is seeking to hold individually liable, was actually trying to argue that workers' compensation should be the only exclusive legal remedy. The courts did not agree.

New U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently reversed prior Department of Justice guidance directing the federal government to reduce its reliance on private prisons to house federal inmates. While this was good news for shareholders of private prison company stocks, it looks like bad news for American taxpayers and inmates: as the DOJ conceded when it announced the phase out last year, private prisons "do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department's Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security."

So what happens if you're injured or mistreated in a private prison? Do you have any legal recourse?