An assault refers to an intentional threat or attempt to impose injury upon a person, with a clear and the ability to cause the injury or harm that can make a reasonable hesitant of bodily offensive contact in the other person. An assault does not need an actual physical contact or bodily injury to the victim. An assault and battery are usually used interchangeably, but battery refers to a baseless harm or offensive contact of another. Battery also varies from assault because it does not need for the victim to be in apprehension of the harm.
Assault arises in common law, which means that it develops by its usage, custom, and judicial decisions instead of the legislative enactment. Nowadays, assault laws reflect the old common-law description. An assault is described as crime and a tort, which means that an assailant is liable against criminal and civil cases. The guilty verdict may lead to a fine, imprisonment, or both. With civil assault case, the victim is entitled to financial damages from the assailant.
Civil Assault Cases
Different from any criminal prosecution for assault, the victim may have the right to file civil damages for the injuries caused by the assault. After the conviction by a judge or jury that there was an assault committed, they should determine how much compensation is appropriate. There are three types of damages that can be given. One, compensatory damages refers to payment for the injury sustained such as medical expenses. Two, nominal damages refers to an act that acknowledges that an individual suffered a technical violation of the rights and involves a small amount. They can be awarded in some cases where no actual injury resulted, or where the injury happened, however, the sum is undetermined. Three, punitive damages maybe awarded at certain egregious circumstances, as a means to punish the offender. Punitive damages go beyond the compensatory damages.