Assault and Battery: The Basics

Maybe you’ve seen the little cartoon: a shaker of salt and a battery sit in a jail cell. “What are you in for?” they ask each other. Get it? This pun-y twist on assault and battery is amusing. In real life, assault and battery aren’t funny topics at all!

Assault and Battery: What’s the Difference?

Assault and battery are often paired together, but they are not necessarily the same thing. According to Florida Statutes, assault is “an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence” which, when “coupled with an apparent ability to do so” creates a “well-founded fear” in another person. Battery, on the other hand, refers to the actual physical impact on another person.

For example, Person A passes Person B in the street. Person A raises a fist, and says they will beat Person B up if they see them again. This is assault, because Person B will likely feel threatened. In the same event, if Person A actually does punch Person B, their actions will be considered battery. Often, someone will threaten another person before committing the actual attack.

Physical, Emotional, and Financial Consequences

When someone is the victim of assault, it can lead to a variety of mental and physical injuries. If someone is physically attacked, they could suffer injuries like:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Cuts, bruises, and lacerations

Additionally, victims of assault and battery might also experience mental injuries, ranging from anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Mental injuries can lead to social limitations, behavioral changes, and even suicidal thoughts, which makes them just as serious as physical injuries after an attack.

Along with physical and mental injuries, assault and battery can lead to:

  • Medical bills
  • Time away from work
  • Lost wages
  • An inability to perform previous work
  • Funeral expenses in severe cases
  • Property damage

When someone is physically, emotionally, or financially harmed during an attack, they may have a personal injury claim. However, like with any personal injury case, they are many factors to consider before making a personal injury claim.

Making a Personal Injury Claim

For starters, it’s important to assess the injuries and damages that occurred. If someone is left with minor bruising after an assault, it might not be worth it to pursue a personal injury case. This is because a personal injury case can be expensive and time-consuming, and the compensation might not outweigh the other expenses. On the other hand, if an assault leads to a severe or permanent injury, like a brain injury, the victim is more likely to have a good chance at a successful case.

Oftentimes, determining if someone has a personal injury claim after an assault also depends on the circumstances of the incident. For example, if someone is randomly attacked by a stranger , they may have a case. On the other hand, if someone sees an ex-friend, goes to confront them, and gets into their face and yells at them, they might not have as strong of a case if the ex-friend then punches them. This is because they played an active role in the assault and potentially instigated it, leading to the other person to act in self-defense.

Need Help

Even if there are not grounds for a personal injury case, assault and battery can still lead to consequences for the attacker. In Florida, assault is considered a second degree misdemeanor, which can lead to fines and jail time of up to 60 days. In extreme cases, like where an assault results in death or permanent injury, the punishment is much more severe.

Determining if you have a case after an assault can be complicated, especially when you are dealing with injuries, medical bills, and other hardships. If you have been injured in an assault, consider seeking the help of an experienced personal injury attorney—they can see you through the process.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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