Assault and Battery, Civil

Assault and battery are closely related intentional torts that are distinguished from one another by the presence or absence of physical contact. An assault occurs when an individual attempts to make an offensive bodily contact with another individual but fails to do so. During that attempt, there is an imminent fear of contact. In most cases, an assault includes not only threatening words but also an offer of physical violence. In contrast, battery requires an actual offensive bodily contact.

The following example illustrates the difference between assault and battery. If a student threatened to strike another student with a club, and the student being threatened was fearful that the threatening student would strike him, it may be considered assault. If on the other hand, the student ...

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