If someone has slapped you, you may be wondering if this qualifies as an assault or battery. Unfortunately, unwanted touchings like being hit or slapped can occur in many settings, including home or business settings. If this has happened to you, consider consulting with our Florida personal injury attorney to discuss your options.
What is an Assualt and/or Battery?
In Florida, assault and battery are two different crimes. An assault refers to an intentional verbal or physical threat that causes the threatened person fear of being harmed. In addition, the person making the threat has to do some act that justifies the recipient’s fear that violence is imminent. Florida law categorizes assault as a misdemeanor with varying degrees.
A battery is an intentional touching, striking, or causing physical harm to another person against the will of the other. According to Florida law, a battery can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on several factors.
An incident can also be both an assault and battery.
Is a Slap Considered Assault/ Battery?
The answer is it depends. Suppose a person is slapped from behind. Since they had no idea they were about to be slapped, they couldn’t have had a fear of being harmed. However, this was an unwanted strike to their physical person that arguably caused bodily harm. This slap could be categorized as a battery unless it was not intentional. For example, perhaps it was an accident, and the person was trying to swat away a fly instead of hitting you.
Alternatively, let’s say you get involved in an argument. You and the other person face each other, and the other person raises their hand towards you and then slaps you. This act is both an assault and battery. The raising of their hand is an intentional physical threat. Following through and hitting you is an intentional unwanted touching and, therefore, a battery.
So What Can You Do if You Have Been Slapped?
If you have been intentionally slapped and injured, you have a few options. Your claim may qualify as a criminal or civil claim or both.
Typically, a state or local district attorney handles the prosecution of a criminal claim for assault or battery. A party found guilty of assault and/or battery may face imprisonment, probation, have to pay restitution, or be subject to other consequences as determined by the court.
A civil claim for assault and/or battery is a private case brought in a civil court by the injured person. The goal of this claim is to recover compensation for your injuries. If you succeed in your civil case, you may recover compensatory damages. These can include medical costs, lost wages, loss of household services, and pain and suffering. Sometimes a judge or jury may also award punitive damages. Punitive damages are usually a financial punishment imposed against the person who engaged in the wrongful conduct on top of compensatory damages. Contact our office today to discuss your case and your potential civil claim.