There are many types of “personal injury” cases and nearly all involve negligent, as opposed to intentional, conduct. The main exception is a civil battery claim. To prove a civil battery personal injury claim under North Carolina law, a plaintiff must establish that:
- defendant intentionally caused a bodily contact with plaintiff
- the bodily contact caused plaintiff physical pain or injury
- plaintiff did not consent to the bodily contact
If a plaintiff is successful on his or her claim, the compensatory damages recoverable in an assault and battery lawsuit include, but are not limited to, compensation for (a) medical and pharmaceutical expenses; (b) lost wages; and (c) physical and emotional pain and suffering. The plaintiff can, in certain cases, recover punitive damages. These are damages a jury can award against a defendant who has engaged in willful and wanton conduct solely to punish him or her. If you have been the victim of an assault and battery in North Carolina, contact the Raleigh law firm of Maginnis Howard at (919) 480-8526. Our attorneys can help you through the process of recovering financial compensation to pay for your losses.
Many assault and battery cases are straight forward. For example, if you are hit by a total stranger without any interaction with him or her, and there are multiple witnesses, your case should be easy to prove. In other cases, however, the defendant will plead an “affirmative defense” and allege that he or she had an excuse. Among the most common affirmative defenses are self-defense and defense of family. The burden of proof for a self-defense claim is on the defendant. That is, he must convince the jury by the greater weight of the evidence that he was acting in self-defense.
To establish a self-defense claim, the defendant must show that he:
- reasonably believed it was necessary to use force to protect himself from imminent bodily injury or death
- used no more force against the plaintiff than was reasonably necessary under the circumstances to protect himself from bodily injury or death
- was not the aggressor.
The elements are nearly identical with a claim of defense of family. The only important distinction is that neither the family member nor the defendant can be the aggressor. If a family member initiated a fight, the defendant cannot step in to strike the plaintiff and claim defense of family.
Assault and battery claims can be simpler than other claims in that it is often a relatively straight forward matter. Unfortunately, insurance coverage is frequently unavailable, forcing you to deal with an individual defendant who may or may not have assets. The good news is that because intentional conduct was involved, your settlement should not be dis-chargeable through bankruptcy.
If you have sustained a serious civil battery injury in North Carolina, contact us at (919) 480-8526. You may also send the details of your case using our contact page. Our firm offers free consultations and handles assault cases on a contingency basis. This means that you pay no attorneys’ fees unless and until we obtain a verdict or settlement in your case.