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The Intentional Tort of Battery

In New York, tortious battery is defined as an intentional unwanted touching. The torts of battery and assault are distinguishable from each other in that battery compensates the harms that flow from violent, rude, offensive, or vicious acts that harm the person, while assault compensates one for trespasses on mental tranquility and the belief that one is safe from violence.

If you or someone you know has an intentional tort of battery case, call our New York intentional tort lawyers today. Our New York intentional tort lawyers will present the strongest possible evidence to win your case. Call our office today for a free consultation.

Battery, like assault, contemplates only intentional acts that actually bring about the tortious harm, like getting struck with a closed fist. Getting a slap on the back from your buddy does not suffice to establish battery. On the other hand, it isn’t just physically harmful and painful acts that hurt the plaintiff which may be compensated by the tort of battery. Offensive and humiliating conduct, no matter how slight in its application of force is still actionable. A perfect example of such conduct would be spitting in another’s face.

It must also be noted that battery is never negligently inflicted. Causes of action sounding in negligence and battery are distinct based upon a number of elements, but, the most important one is intent. Where battery is intentional, negligence may lie based only on mere careless conduct.

The elements of battery are as follows:

  • Making contact with another’s body with intent.
  • The contact thereof is actually harmful or offensive.

The intent requirement for battery is satisfied based only upon intending to make contact with the plaintiff. It is particularly important to realize that merely because a person did not intend to cause an injury to the plaintiff, that does not protect that person from liability. Simple horseplay or joshing around that is unwanted, but generally harmless, under tragic circumstances can result in life changing liability for a defendant. This example should illustrate how such consequences may occur: Paul suffers from a degenerative condition that makes his bones as thin as an eggshell. Daniel is horsing around with his friends and trips Paul to get a quick laugh by tying his shoelaces together. Paul falls and breaks both his femurs and hip, rendering him wheelchair bound for life and in terrible, never ending pain. Damages from this case will seriously alter Daniel’s life.

The offensive conduct prohibited by the tort of battery must in fact be offensive. The test New York state courts impose to determine if conduct was in fact offensive is whether the conduct was improper despite the facts of the situation. This does not include normal bumps and squeezes of the busy world where people pile into subways and buses to make their morning commutes. Getting someone’s attention by tapping their shoulder or pushing past someone in the subway does not suffice to be considered offensive conduct. On the other hand, being groped, punched, or the like would absolutely suffice to establish the offensive conduct element of battery.

If you or someone you love is involved in a case of battery call our New York intentional tort defense attorneys today. Our New York intentional tort lawyers will present the strongest possible case and obtain the very best result. Call our office today for a free consultation.

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