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Unknown to most people, there is a very strong distinction between "assault" and "battery" in tort law.

For the tort of assault, the victim need only have a reasonable belief that there is a threat of injury. Assault is present when any word or action intends to make another person fearful of immediate physical harm. No physical contact is necessary for assault.

Battery, on the other hand, is the unprivileged, intentional touching of another. No injuries need be inflicted. If someone playfully hugs you and you get hurt, there is battery. If, however, you give permission to the other party to hit you, and you get injured, you cannot claim battery.

Also, as assault can exist without battery, battery can exist without assault. Most times, however, these two torts are intertwined and thus these cases are tried accordingly.

Now, hopefully people won't be off and running to the courts to claim assault or battery on other people, as most courts don't hear a claim unless there actually is injury on the plaintiff's part.

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