A battery claim is a civil claim for damages arising from physical, harmful, or offensive contact to a person without consent.

If you have been punched, kicked or otherwise, physically contacted by another person and sustain an injury, you may have a personal injury claim in battery under the Civil Liability Act 1936 (SA).

A battery claim is unrelated to a criminal action for assault. Unlike a criminal action which punishes an individual for their crime, a civil action will compensate the injured person for their losses. It protects your right to be free from physical interference or contact.

In order to successfully prove battery, you are required to prove the following:

  1. There was a voluntary and positive act by an individual;
  2. The act was either reckless or negligent or done with the intention of causing physical, harmful, or offensive contact;
  3. The act directly caused contact; and
  4. The act was done without lawful justification.

A person may be held liable for damages if offensive contact is made, and an injury is sustained. It is not necessary to show the presence of anger, ill will or hostility.

In the decision of Rixon v Star City Ptd Ltd [2001] NSWCA 265, the New South Wales Court of Appeal held that “any touching of another person, however slight, may amount to battery”. However, an exception to battery is if the physical act is lawfully justified, such as an arrest or self-defence, or if it is part of normal, everyday life, such as accidentally bumping into someone at the shops. These particular types of physical contacts are not of a nature that can be considered as battery.

Get in Touch with Us

At Turner Freeman, we have specialist personal injury lawyers who will assess your case and provide personalised advice regarding your legal entitlements. Our lawyers are located across South Australia, including at our offices in Adelaide, Aberfoyle Park and Whyalla. We also travel to see clients at hospitals and their homes.

If you or someone you know is injured by another person, there may be an entitlement to compensation. If you would like to obtain advice about your entitlements and/or wish to investigate a potential claim for compensation, please contact our personal injury team on 08 8213 1000. It is important to seek advice as soon as possible after an accident or injury because there are strict time limits that apply.