As certain it is that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west,
people will certainly continue to intentionally harm other people. It
is an unfortunate known fact of life. Thankfully, justice is a long standing
value in our society, so too is the peaceful resolution of disputes.
As experienced injury lawyers, we hold these values near and dear to our
hearts. We also know how to obtain justice for our clients when someone
has intentionally caused them harm. The type of help we can offer will
vary depending on how the victim was injured.
Kingston personal injury attorneys will help you hold the offending party accountable in a civil court of
law, so it is important for you to know when you can sue a party in civil
court. Therefore, it is also important for you to know the difference
between a tort and a crime.
A tort is a legally defined wrongfully act committed by a person(s) against
others for which the law provides a remedy. All torts are subdivided between
two categories; intentional torts verses unintentional torts.
Intent is a mental state in which the actor purposefully chose to commit
to an action. The law focuses on the actor’s intent only, and not
on the resultant harm. To hold the offending party accountable, it is
not necessary to prove that he or she meant for the victim to be harmed
in the way that the victim ended up being injured. When a person intentionally
strikes another person with a vehicle and the victim suffers a broken
neck, the perpetrator cannot successfully defend on the grounds that he
or she did not intend to break the victim’s neck.
When someone intentionally commits a wrongful act, he or she can be held
accountable for any and all injuries caused by that act, whether foreseeable
or unforeseeable, and even if the consequences were unintentional.
Torts vs. Crimes
Both torts and crimes involve wrongful acts committed by someone against
another person’s body and or property. The difference between the
two is how the offending party is held accountable. A tort is a civil
wrong from which the victim can sue the perpetrator in civil court. Crimes,
while often committed against a specific individual, are considered so
offending that society as a whole is abhorred by the act. Therefore, the
crime is against the state and the government prosecutes the offending party.
Many illegal acts can be both a tort and a crime. Pushing someone to the
ground would be the tort of battery and the crime of assault, for example.
The victim can sue the offender in civil court and the
District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the offender in a local criminal court.
The other main distinction is the punishments available. Crimes can be
punished by a period of incarceration. Torts do not carry such penalties.
Holding an offending party in civil court will be about receiving monetary
The Interplay between Assault and Battery
The torts of assault and battery often go hand in hand. But quite often
people do not understand the difference between the two. Consider the
following example. Rick, with a baseball bat in hand, approaches Dave
and says, “I am knocking your head off your shoulders”. Dave
hears this and doesn’t know what to do. Rick has committed an assault
tort. When Rick then hits Dave with the baseball bat, a battery has occurred.
Others Responsible for the Offender’s Intentional Tort
The easiest example to use here is the common bar fight. Bars are sometimes
tense and chaotic environments. Obviously, many patrons are drinking alcohol
and may be intoxicated. Tension sometimes erupts into violence. Often
times, alcohol was a factor because it loosens inhibitions and impairs
As you know from the above, the perpetrators can be held accountable for
the attack. But other parties can be held liable too. If the bar in any
way contributed to the assault, for example by unreasonably serving alcohol
to an intoxicated person, then the bar can be held liable for negligence.