What is Considered Battery and Can I Sue if I was a Victim?

Battery is both a crime and a tort (a civil wrong), so you can call the police and file a lawsuit in the civil courts to go after compensation for your losses. People do not tend to use the word “tort” in everyday language, but it just means that someone harmed you through a careless or intentional act and you can sue them in civil court.

You are probably more familiar with the term “assault and battery.” Used in this context, assault is the attempt to harm someone or placing a person in fear of immediate harm, and battery is the actual physical contact.

Types of Criminal Battery in Georgia

Georgia recognizes three types of battery as crimes:

Simple battery

Simple battery is when someone, through an intentional act:

  • Causes physical harm to someone else, or
  • Makes physical contact of an insulting or provocative nature with someone else

Battery

A person commits the crime of battery when he causes substantial physical harm or visible bodily harm to someone else. For purposes of this criminal act, someone other than the victim must be able to perceive the injury. Some examples of substantial or visible harm include:

  • Swollen lips or other facial areas
  • Swollen body parts (not on the face)
  • Blackened eyes
  • Bruises.

Aggravated battery

The crime of aggravated battery is when someone intentionally and with malice hurts another person to the extent that the victim loses a body part, is unable to use a body part, or suffers substantial disfigurement of a body part or of the body.

Filing a Civil Lawsuit for a Violent Injury or Attempt to Harm

Georgia law allows people to bring civil lawsuits for damages when someone has intentionally harmed them. The statute, GA Code § 51-1-14 (2017), says:

            “Any violent injury or illegal attempt to commit a physical injury upon a

            person is a tort for which damages can be recovered.”

If someone committed a battery on you, the law allows you to sue for compensation for your losses.

Damages for the Tort of Battery

The compensation you can go after will depend on the facts of your case, and every situation is unique. A claim for civil battery is a personal injury case, and provides the same damages as for any other personal injury case, which can include:

  • Medical expenses, the reasonable cost of treatment you needed because of your injuries. This category can include things like the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, surgery, doctors, x-rays, lab work, other diagnostic procedures, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.
  • Lost wages, if you did not get paid your wages, salary, self-employment, or other forms of income because of the injury and recuperation time.
  • Rehabilitation center, if you sustained catastrophic injuries, like traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage, that required extensive treatment in a specialized facility.
  • Long-term care, if your injuries leave you in need of daily assistance with medical treatments and personal care.
  • Diminished earning capacity, if you cannot make as much money after the battery because of the injuries you sustained.
  • Disability, if the harm you suffered renders you unable to work to support yourself.
  • Pain and suffering, for the physical discomfort and emotional distress of what you experienced.
  • Other intangible losses, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, and a spousal claim of loss of consortium.

How to Get Legal Help for a Civil Lawsuit for Battery

Because battery is both a crime and a tort, it is easy to get confused about your remedies. Do not worry. Just give S. Burke Law a call at 404-842-7838. You can talk to us for free and with no obligation.

We handle personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that we only get paid our legal fees when you get compensation. We do not charge upfront legal fees.