battery, in criminal and tort law, the unpermitted touching of any part of the person of another, or of anything worn, carried by, or intimately associated at that moment (as a chair being sat on) with another. Contact must be intended by the aggressor, must be reasonably considered offensive, and must be without consent by the one affected. (Consent is assumed for the ordinary and customary contacts of everyday life.) Gross negligence may provide the intent necessary to constitute a battery. Actual physical injuries need not be sustained by the victim; thus a doctor who performs an operation without consent can be sued for battery, even though the patient is benefited by the operation. The term "assault and battery" refers to a crime, the unlawful touching of another as the consummation of an assault.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.