In most cases, civil law and criminal law are treated differently. However, there may be certain instances in which the same set of facts will lead to both civil and criminal liability.  For example, if someone punches you in the face during an argument, the person who punches you can be charged with assault and battery by the police and, thereafter, can be prosecuted by the district attorney for civil violations. In addition, you as the victim may be entitled to sue the party who caused your harm for damages that you suffer due to the assault and battery.

Suing for intentional physical injuries

Assault in Colorado is defined as willfully threatening or attempting to inflict an injury, whereas battery is the actual wrongful contact, or the result of the assault. This means that under Colorado law, assault requires intent, but battery does not.

In Colorado, battery is a general intent offense. Therefore, battery victims do not need to prove that they suffered an actual injury, as long as they can show that the unlawful and unpermitted contact occurred. Additionally, battery can apply both to physical attacks on persons as well as to attacks on property (e.g. if someone grabs your purse). Finally, you may be able to claim damages for battery even if you are not the intended victim.

If you or a family member are the victim of an assault or battery, you may be able to claim a range of damages, including punitive damages that are intended to punish the defendant and act as a deterrent for similar behavior.


You should be aware, however, that the statute of limitations for battery in Colorado is only 1 year from the date of the battery. Also, liability for battery may be limited where you may have assumed the risk of injury (e.g. a martial arts class). Therefore, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.