Assault & Battery
A claim for assault is based upon an intentional attempt or threat to cause physical harm or offensive contact to another person. Actual physical contact is not required to establish an assault claim. However, the person alleging the assault must show that she reasonably believed that a harmful or offensive contact was imminent.
A claim for battery is based upon an act intended to cause physical harm or offensive contact to another person. Unlike an assault claim, a battery claim must be based upon actual physical contact.
A victim of an assault or battery may recover compensatory damages for pain and suffering and for pecuniary losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Punitive damages may also be available in particularly egregious cases.
A claim for assault or battery generally must be brought within one year of the date on which the claim accrues.
For information about other civil claims recognized in the District of Columbia, click here. For information about how to use this guide, click here.
[Sources: Douglas C. Melcher, Tort Claims and Defenses in the District of Columbia §§ 1 & 2 (2014), and legal authorities cited therein.]