Assault and Battery Lawyer
Essex County Intentional Tort Attorney
Mark Law Firm handle assault and battery cases by representing victims of the intentional physical and bodily injury by another person, in civil cases that are outside the realm of criminal law. In civil law, assault and battery are known as "intentional torts," meaning that harm was inflicted on purpose rather than accidentally.
New Jersey's law on Assault and Battery is fairly straight forward:
In New Jersey an assault and battery is defined as an attempt or offer to touch or strike the person of another with unlawful force or violence. A battery necessarily includes a preceding assault and in addition extends to the actual touching or striking of the person, with the intent to do so, with unlawful force or violence.
The terms violence and force mean the same thing when used in relation to assault and battery and include any application of force to the person of the plaintiff even though it entails no pain or bodily harm and leaves no mark. No particular degree of force or violence is necessary for an assault and battery and therefore the least touching or striking of the body of the plaintiff without legal justification against his/her will constitutes an assault and battery.
Separate from any criminal prosecution for assault, a victim may pursue civil damages for injuries caused by it. After a determination by a judge or jury that an assault was committed, the next step is to determine what compensation is appropriate. Three types of damages may be awarded. Compensatory damages, such as medical expenses, are meant to compensate for the injury sustained. Nominal damages are a small sum. Nominal damages act as an acknowledgment that a person has suffered a technical invasion of rights. They are awarded in cases where no actual injury has resulted, or where an injury occurred, but the amount has not been established. Finally, punitive damages may sometimes be awarded. Punitive damages may be awarded in particularly egregious circumstances, as a way to further punish the wrongdoer. Punitive damages go above and beyond compensatory damages.
There are certain instances when an assault and battery are justified. Such situations are when one uses Self Defense to protect themselves or a third party.
A. Self Defense:
A person accused of assault and battery, may raise what is known in the law as the defense of self defense. Since it has been introduced by the defendant the law imposes upon the defendant that burden of proving this defense according to the standard of burden of proof which I have set out in this charge.
Fundamentally, no person has a lawful right to lay hostile and menacing hands on another. However, the law does not require anyone to submit meekly to the unlawful infliction of violence upon him. He may resist the use or threatened use of force upon him. He may meet force with force, but he may use only such force as reasonably appears to him to be necessary under all the circumstances for the purpose of self protection. A Judge and Jury will view the incident between the parties by determining if the force as, under all the circumstances, was necessary or reasonable for his own protection, and if so, then the defense of self defense has been proven. If on the other hand, the Judge or Jury believes that no one was under attack, or if he used more force than reasonably appeared necessary to defend himself, or that he continued the use of force after the apparent necessity for self defense had ceased, then the defense of self defense has not been proven.
Often time, a question of reasonableness or degree of force used is the central issue of whether or not self defense used was justified. You may bear in mind; however, that one is not ordinarily expected to exercise the same refined degree of judgment at times of great stress or excitement that he would under more placid circumstances. And so the degree of force actually used should not be appraised by you from the standpoint of one who has the leisure to make a calm, unhurried judgment. The conduct of the parties at the moment of conflict should be evaluated by you from their perspective at that time and in the light of the judgment of which they were then reasonably capable. Normally, the greater the "bodily injury" inflicted upon another during an act of self defense, a greater weight of evidence must be proven that one's actions were justified.
The term "serious bodily harm" is used to describe a bodily harm, the consequence of which is so grave or serious that it is different in kind and not merely in degree from other bodily harm. A harm which creates a substantial risk of death is a "serious bodily harm", and is harm involving the permanent or protracted loss of the function of any important member or organ.
B. Duty to Retreat
In New Jersey, one does not have a duty to retreat, however one cannot use deadly force when an opportunity to retreat with complete safety is possible. It is generally understood to mean that forced used in self-defense which is known to create a substantial risk of causing, death or serious bodily harm cannot be used if there is a chance to first retreat.
C. Defense of Another
Another question that arises, is the defense of another person. When a person takes it upon themselves to defend of a third party --- whether your spouse, child, parent, Uncle Eddie, a friend or just an unknown bystander --- who reasonably appeared to have been in peril of death or serious bodily harm at the hands of another.
It may be justifiably to intervene in the defense of any person who is in actual or apparent imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm. By defending another person, you must use only such force as you have reason to believe, and that you do believe, is necessary under the circumstances.
You may bear in mind that one is not ordinarily expected to exercise the same refined degree of judgment at times of stress and great excitement that he would under more placid circumstances. Thus, the defendant's evaluation of the gravity of the danger threatening the third party and his/her estimate of the degree of force necessary to protect the third party should not be weighed by you from the standpoint of one who has the leisure to make a calm, unhurried judgment. Defendant's conduct at the moment of conflict should be evaluated by you from his perspective at that time and in light of the judgment of which he was then reasonably capable.
Whether you have been the victim of an assault, or you feel that you have been wrongfully accused of assaulting another person, and will need to rely upon the "self-defense" defense, the attorneys at Mark Law Firm can adequately represent your interests.
New Jersey Assault and Battery Attorneys
Any one at any time can become the unfortunate victim of an assault and battery. Conversely, at any time, a person may be wrongfully accused of assaulting another and need adequate legal representation. If someone is responsible for committing an assault and battery upon another --- whether as a vicious act or in self-defense --- resulting in serious injuries to anyone, you as a victim, are entitled to monetary compensation for any and all injuries directly resulting from assault and battery. A New Jersey Assault and Battery attorney can assist you in proving your Assault and Battery case and in recovering compensation you deserve.
Contact Our New Jersey Assault and Battery Attorneys!
Speak to our New Jersey Assault and Battery attorney today about any injuries you may have sustained due to an assault and battery. Contact Mark Law Firm, and speak to one of our Assault and Battery lawyers today by calling 888-734-8287, or one of our local Office numbers of 908-626-1001 (Somerset County - Basking Ridge), 973-440-2311 (Bergen County – Oradell); 973-440-2311 ( ). Also, feel free to speak to one of our attorneys online by filing out our contact us sheet on the top page of this website.