Assault & Battery
This coverage is used to protect against Bodily Injury and Property Damage arising out of alleged acts of Assault and Battery. Depending on the insurance company providing the coverage, Assault and Battery can be defined differently in the insurance policy.
Generally, an assault being an act which creates fear of an imminent battery, and the battery is an unlawful touching.
An assault invoves:
- An intentional, unlawful threat or "offer" to cause bodily injury to another by force
- Under circumstances which create in the other person a well-founded fear of imminent peril
- Where there exists the apparent present ability to carry out the act if not prevented
A battery is the willful or intentional touching of a person against that person’s will by another person, or by an object or substance put in motion by that other person. Please note that an offensive touching can constitute a battery even if it does not cause injury, and could not reasonably be expected to cause injury. A an employee who emphatically pokes a patron in the chest with his index finger to emphasize a point may be culpable for battery (although the damages award that results may well be nominal). An employee who spits on a plaintiff, even though there is little chance that the spitting will cause any injury other than to the plaintiff's dignity, has committed a battery.
Although most standard Commercial General Liability policies do not exclude claims of this nature many carriers will attach specific exclusions addressing this exposure for certain types of businesses such as bars or dance clubs where confrontations between employees and patrons can often times lead to allegations of excessive force.