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

The July confrontation in Utah made headlines nationwide: a University Hospital nurse standing off a Salt Lake City police officer, refusing to allow blood to be drawn from an unconscious patient involved in a car crash. Alex Wubbels correctly pointed out to Detective Jeff Payne the patient was not under arrest, Payne did not have a warrant to obtain the blood, and that he could not obtain consent from the unconscious man.

Payne arrested Wubbels anyway, ostensibly for obstruction of justice, but the nurse was released less than an hour later and never charged. Today, Wubbels and her attorney announced they have reached a settlement with the city and the university that owns the hospital for $500,000.

A new lawsuit against neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and white nationalist groups in the wake of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia claims the antagonists brought "semi-automatic weapons, pistols, mace, rods, armor, shields, and torches" to the city, with "the purpose of inciting violence and instilling fear within the community of Charlottesville and beyond."

The suit, filed on behalf of 11 people injured during the August clashes, charge 26 individuals and groups with negligence, conspiracy, harassment, infliction of emotional distress, and assault along with violations of the Ku Klux Klan Act and the Civil Rights Act. Here's a look:

If there is anything positive to be taken from the horrific Harvey Weinstein revelations, it's that more victims of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment -- both male and female -- are coming forward with their stories. And as more stories are told, more lawsuits will follow.

And that will leave many people wondering whether you can sue for sexual assault or harassment, and who, other than the perpetrator, might be responsible. Here's a look:

Hospitals, and the medical professionals they employ, are supposed to be the places and people we can turn to for care, cure, and comfort. Sadly, in doesn't always work out that way. Hospitals can make mistakes and their employees can abuse their power to take advantage of vulnerable patients.

That's what happened according to one woman's lawsuit against Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford, Mississippi. A Jane Doe claims a paramedic sexually assaulted her in the back of an ambulance while she was suffering from a drug overdose and being transported to the hospital.

Aschea Austin, according to her civil complaint, visited the drive-thru South State Road Dunkin' Donuts in Margate, Florida in December 2015, four months pregnant at the time. Unhappy with her order, Austin admittedly "became a participant in a verbal, then physical altercation with Xiomara Henry," a Dunkin' employee.

One month later, Austin went to the hospital complaining of a fever, nausea, and vomiting. She later miscarried in the hospital, and is now suing the doughnut chain, claiming it and the employee are liable for the miscarriage.

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.