If you were the victim of battery and sustained injuries, contact Wallace Miller immediately. You might be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party for the harm you suffered.
A traumatic incident such as battery can lead to a range of emotions. You face medical treatment to heal your physical wounds but might also require therapy to treat your psychological pain.
A person charged with battery can face severe criminal penalties. However, they can also be held liable for the injuries they cause in civil court. At Wallace Miller, we know how to pursue the compensation owed to our clients. You can count on us to seek the justice you deserve. Call the Chicago intentional tort attorneys of Wallace Miller at (312) 261-6193 for your free consultation today.
Legal Definition of Battery in Illinois
People often use the terms assault and battery interchangeably. However, they are two separate crimes. Assault under 720 ILCS 5/12-1 is an intentional act to physically threaten another person or give them the impression that the assailant has the ability and the desire to harm them.
According to 720 ILCS 5/12-3, someone commits battery if they knowingly and without legal justification:
- Cause bodily harm to someone else; or
- Make physical contact with another person of a provoking or insulting nature.
Aggravated battery is an elevated form of battery. 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05 defines aggravated battery as committing battery without discharging a firearm and knowingly:
- Causing permanent disability or great bodily harm;
- Causing permanent and severe bodily harm or disfigurement using a flammable or caustic substance, deadly chemical or biology contaminant or agent, poisonous gas, bomb or explosive compound, or radioactive substance;
- Causing great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to a person known to be a peace officer, fireman, correctional institution employee, community policing volunteer, or Department of Human Services employee controlling or supervising sexually dangerous or violent people;
- Causing great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to someone at least 60 years old;
- Strangling another person;
- Causes great bodily harm, disfigurement, or disability to a child or person with an intellectual disability; or
- Causing someone’s injury while discharging a firearm other than a machine gun or a firearm equipped with a silencer.
Battery also involves other actions, such as:
- Domestic Battery – In Illinois, domestic battery is also called domestic violence. It can occur between family or household members, such as spouses or a parent and child. Injuries from a domestic violence incident might entitle you to compensation from the at-fault party.
- Police brutality – Police brutality is a form of battery by a member of law enforcement. Police officers can use reasonable force against another person only when it’s necessary to detain or arrest them. It becomes battery if an officer uses force without legal justification, causing someone’s injury.
Differences Between Criminal and Civil Cases
A battery case can be a civil and criminal matter. The state can choose to pursue criminal charges against the person who committed some form of battery. A conviction might lead to sentencing, such as imprisonment, fines, community service, and other penalties.
Criminal cases involve criminal punishments. A civil case involves monetary compensation. When you file a civil lawsuit against another person, you attempt to recover a financial award for your injury. The money you receive can compensate you for your medical bills and other expenses.
The primary difference between a civil and criminal case is the at-fault party’s intent. Battery must be an intentional act to proceed with criminal charges. That means the defendant meant to harm someone or make physical contact of an offensive or provocative nature.
However, a civil case doesn’t require proof of motive to establish liability. The most significant issue is whether the plaintiff sustained injuries due to the other person’s intentional conduct. The evidence must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant committed the act, the plaintiff’s injuries resulted from the act, and monetary losses occurred.
The defendant in a civil lawsuit can be liable for the plaintiff’s losses, such as pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses. In a criminal case, the defendant might have to pay the plaintiff restitution and serve a jail sentence.
Proving Liability for Injuries from Battery
In some situations, pursuing a civil case might be a beneficial option. Although criminal cases punish people for the illegal acts they commit, the penalties might not be enough to satisfy the plaintiff’s suffering.
Filing a civil lawsuit can hold the at-fault party accountable and recover compensation for the victim’s bills and physical or emotional pain.
A crucial part of proving liability in a civil case is showing the defendant harmed the plaintiff. The intentional actions and the victim’s injury must be connected. The plaintiff must also establish that their losses resulted directly from the defendant’s physical contact. That means you must show proof of your hospitalization, time away from work, emotional distress, and other losses because of the injury the other party caused.
The defense attorney might use the consent defense to disprove your battery claims. They can argue that you consented to the physical contact, so their client is not liable for your injury. Proving you didn’t consent to the defendant’s actions is critical to establish liability.
In a case involving a recreational or sports injury, showing the at-fault party should be responsible for your losses can be challenging. Many sports are inherently dangerous or violent.
For example, a reasonable degree of physical force is acceptable in football. That means that, if you were intentionally injured by someone else during a game you must show the defendant used an inappropriate or unreasonable amount of force to justify a verdict in your favor in a civil case.
Using a certain degree of reasonable force is also a common defense in cases against law enforcement. Police officers can physically restrain a person during an arrest or detainment if necessary. However, the officer can be liable for injuries if their physical force is beyond acceptable or reasonable.
Compensation in a Battery Case
The person you pursue compensation from depends on the circumstances of the battery. You can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your:
- Emotional distress
- Emergency room visits, rehabilitation, prescriptions, and other medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Damage to personal property
You might also be able to pursue punitive damages from the at-fault party. This type of financial award punishes the defendant for their actions and is meant to deter similar misconduct in the future. You must show clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with an evil motive or outrageous and reckless indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and a conscious indifference to the safety and rights of others to be awarded these damages.
Statute of Limitations for a Civil Battery Case
A statute of limitations dictates the timeframe available for a person to file a civil lawsuit against another party. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for battery allows two years to initiate a lawsuit for compensation. That means you have two years from the date of your injury to sue the wrongdoer.
If you run out of time, you can lose your right to compensation from the defendant. However, you can toll or pause the statute under specific circumstances.
If you are under a legal disability when the battery occurs, the timeframe won’t start until you are no longer under a legal disability. A legal disability includes being of unsound mind or under 18. That means you have a two-year timeframe from the date you turn 18 or become mentally competent to initiate your lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Contact a Dedicated Intentional Tort Lawyer in Chicago Today
At Wallace Miller, our team of lawyers provides aggressive and dependable legal representation to injured clients in Illinois. We take pride in our stellar reputation and track record of success. We tirelessly work to hold people and companies accountable for their wrongdoing and seek justice for battery victims.
If you sustained injuries from an incident of battery, call Wallace Miller now for a free consultation at (312) 261-6193 to learn more about what we can do for you. Let us advocate for your rights and fight for the money owed to you.