Can You Sue Someone for Slapping You? - FindLaw (2023)

Can You Sue Someone for Slapping You? - FindLaw (1)

By Brett Snider, Esq. on December 08, 2014| Last updated on March 21, 2019

When someone slaps you, you don't have to take it. No no, we don't mean that you go all "Dynasty" on your attacker; you have legal options.

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Part of the problem with being a slap victim, though, is that you have to prove that you actually suffered damages. And the hot sting of your cheek may not be enough.

So can you sue someone for slapping you?

Slaps Constitute Battery

The law generally frowns on the idea of one person hitting the other when there is no imminent threat or legal cause to restrain that person. When one person intentionally touches another without his or her consent, causing some sort of harm (physical, emotional, or even financial), battery has been committed.

If someone intentionally slaps you, regardless of the amount of force, and causes you some sort of legally recognizable damage, you can sue him or her for battery. Since a slap is unlikely to cause you any real physical harm -- unless a famous rapper hits you -- you may have to seek damages for emotional distress.

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Getting Slapped Isn't Nothing

Despite the lack of physical danger from the average face-slap, depending on the circumstances, being slapped can cause some serious mental anguish or emotional distress. In order to put these feelings into terms a court of law will understand, being slapped may be linked associated with some sort of physical condition: headaches, ulcers, fatigue, insomnia, etc.

Even if your body or mind are unaffected by being slapped, you can also sue if being slapped hurt you financially. For example, if a rogue employee slapped you during an important client meeting, causing you to lose that client's business; or if you were placed on unpaid leave because of involvement in a "fight," you may be able to sue to recover those losses.

It may be difficult in some cases to determine the exact dollar amount associated with something like loss to a business' reputation, but the key is that it can equate to dollars and cents. Hurt feelings alone, such as anger or embarrassment, are not something the courts can help you recover for.

If someone slapped you and caused you harm, you don't have to take it. Get a personal injury attorney to review your case for free today.

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Can you sue someone that slaps you? ›

Victims of assault and battery have the right to sue their attackers for (money) damages. It is not necessary that the defendant first be convicted in a criminal trial, or even charged with a crime. As long as the plaintiff suffered damages because of the defendant's wrongful actions, he or she can file suit.

Can I press charges if someone slaps me? ›

This is so commonplace in movies, especially in romantic comedies, that many people are surprised to hear that slapping someone is actually illegal. The simple answer to whether slapping someone is considered assault is yes.

Is slap considered assault? ›

Slapping someone involves the physical contact of hitting your hand across another person's face or other part of their body. The physical contact itself makes the act assault, but it would most certainly be considered assault if there was force in the slap.

What to do if someone slaps you for no reason? ›

It doesn't matter if the person is male or female you can file a complaint against them in the police station. According to Section 323 IPC, the person who slaps you can be jailed for 1 year.

How much damage can a slap do? ›

A punch or a slap does not have to be exceptionally powerful to kill somebody. A hit that is delivered quickly and at a particular angle can cause torsional forces to the neck and head, injuring the arteries that supply blood to the brain. There are many examples of one-punch deaths documented through the courts.

What to do if someone beats you up? ›

If you or someone you know has been attacked in a public place, the first thing to do is call the police. Failing to notify law enforcement can actually impair your ability to make civil claims later for injuries or damages suffered in the attack. If injured, you should also seek medical attention.

What is the law if someone slaps you? ›

Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person otherwise than on grave and sudden provocation given by that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.

What is the law for slapping someone? ›

The act of slapping another individual is assault and battery which is a crime punishable under Nigeria's legal system.

Is an open hand slap considered abuse? ›

According to Psychology Today, the legal spanking of a child involves smacking the buttocks with an open hand. If you apply excessive force, it is not considered reasonable or moderate discipline. If you leave a bruise, scratch or cut with your open hand, it is child abuse by definition.

Can you hit someone if they provoke you? ›

Can you hit someone if they provoke you? Just because someone insulted you or said something rude or mean doesn't mean you have the right to hit them. However, if physical harm is imminent or they've already hit you once, you may have a legal right to self defence and can hit them back.

Can you hit someone if they spit on you? ›

In addition to battery, the crime of “assault” under Penal Code § 240 is also available for spitting. This crime covers the attempt to use force or violence rather than the actual contact. This means that spitting toward someone is a crime in and of itself, whether the spit makes contact or not.

Is slapping a physical injury? ›

Since the face represents a person and his dignity, slapping it is a serious personal attack. It is a physical assault coupled with a willful disregard, nay, a defiance, of an individual's personality. It may therefore be frequently regarded as placing in real danger a person's dignity, rights and safety.

Can you slap someone in self defense? ›

The answer is yes. While it might not be the most common of defenses to assault and battery charges, striking a person before they hit you is a valid legal defense. The reason for this defense is the belief that the accused attacker felt threatened by the person who they struck.

Is slapping a threat? ›

First, there's a risk that smacking might hurt your child. Second, it can give children the message that smacking or hitting other people is an OK way to deal with strong feelings. Third, physical punishment like smacking can lead to longer-term problems in children's health and development.

Can you slap someone too hard? ›

Yes, slapping can be a serious assault that can even lead to death. At the same time, it's important to consider the relative risk. Countless people get slapped worldwide every year, leading to what appears to be only a trickle of headline-worthy fatalities.

Can you slap a woman back if she slaps you? ›

The law allows for you to use reasonable force to protect yourself from imminent harm. If you slapped your wife back in order to prevent her from continuing to attack you, for example, then your actions might be justifiable self defense.

How much force is a slap? ›

2) The Impulse applied when getting slapped can be quite massive. Impulses (Force times change in Time) delivered through a slap could be as large as 25000 J*S, assuming a Force of 50000 Newtons (yes, boxers can punch that hard) and a time of contact of . 5 seconds. When your cable's on the fritz, you get angry.

Is slap a crime? ›

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) has a provision in section 323 (simple hurt) to take care of incidents of slapping etc, but it is not a cognizable offence.

What type of force is a slap? ›

Essentially, a slap is the concentrated aggregation of artificial gravitational force (weight per square unit of area not caused by the earth's movement - gravity - but by objects in motion) on a fixed area of your face.

How much of a beating can someone take? ›

After looking at kicks from several different fighting styles, they found that experts could generate up to 9,000 newtons with them, equal to roughly a ton of force. A quick, sharp blow that delivers some 3,300 newtons of force has a 25 percent chance of cracking an average person's rib, she said.

Is beating an assault? ›

This act is committed without the other person's consent. Assault by beating refers to a common assault which involves physical force being applied (as opposed to the apprehension of physical force). It is sometimes referred to as battery.

Can I fight back to defend myself? ›

All states have self-defense laws that allow people who are threatened to use reasonable force to defend themselves or others, and to avoid criminal liability from their use of force.

What is the lowest charge of assault? ›

Class C Misdemeanor

What behaviors are considered abuse? ›

Behaviors include sulking, crying, withdrawing into silence, leaving, arguing, shouting, and insulting comments. A batterer may say things that are intended to be cruel and hurtful, will curse or degrade their partner, or put down their accomplishments.

What are the four 4 categories of abusive? ›

Most States recognize four major types of maltreatment: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Additionally, many States identify abandonment, parental substance use, and human trafficking as abuse or neglect.

Is it OK to slap someone? ›

This is so commonplace in movies, especially in romantic comedies, that many people are surprised to hear that slapping someone is actually illegal. The simple answer to whether slapping someone is considered assault is yes.

Can you hit someone if you feel threatened? ›

Yes. However, at the time you act, you must reasonably believe that you are in imminent danger of being killed or seriously injured. The level of force you use cannot exceed the threat with which you are faced. If the threat you face is death or great bodily harm, deadly force can be excusable.

Do fighting words justify assault? ›

The court held that provocative words may be justification for an assault, provided the person uttering the words understood or should have understood that physical retaliation would be attempted. The words must be "fighting" words.

Is it assault if someone tries to hit you? ›

There must be a deliberate action or intention to either use force or threaten force against someone else. For example, accidentally bumping into someone may be applying force to that person but because there was no intention to harm or threaten harm, it is not considered an assault.

Is spitting assault by beating? ›

Threatening words or a raised fist is enough for the crime to have been committed provided the victim thinks that they are about to be attacked. Spitting at someone is another example. Actual bodily harm (ABH) means the assault has caused some hurt or injury to the victim.

Is it a criminal Offence to spit in someone's face? ›

By law, and as of 1988, spitting is considered to be battery. Criminal battery basically covers anything that could be considered to be offensive or harmful contact. It covers everything from a kick to the lightest form of physical contact, and a victim does not have to be harmed for battery to have occurred.

Can you hit a girl if she spits on you? ›

You can be accused of assault even if you didn't hurt the other person or used very little force. For example, spitting in a person's face can be an assault. Important! Assault can have serious legal consequences when it puts the victim's life in danger or when the victim is injured.

What are the three forms of slap? ›

present simple I / you / we / they slap/slæp/ /slæp/
he / she / it slaps/slæps/ /slæps/
past simple slapped/slæpt/ /slæpt/
past participle slapped/slæpt/ /slæpt/
-ing form slapping/ˈslæpɪŋ/ /ˈslæpɪŋ/

Is slapping a type of hitting? ›

Former collegiate softball player Jordan Mowatt says, “Slapping is an effective style of hitting for a left-handed athlete with quick footwork and speed on the bases.” There are two main approaches to slap hitting: the soft slap and the power slap.

Is hitting and slapping the same thing? ›

Usage and meaning

The word "slap" is frequently used to minimize the perceived violence of an act, even if the act was especially severe. One person may hit another across the face and injure them severely, but in calling it a slap, it may seem less severe, since slapping is often associated with minor violence.

Where is the most painful place to slap someone? ›

What places of your attacker's body should you aim for if you're looking to cause the most damage and get the most “bang for your buck”? The best places to hit someone are the most sensitive parts of the body, including the eyes, ears, nose, and groin.

What is the #1 rule of self-defense? ›

FIRST: You must have a reasonable belief that your'e being attacked or about to be attacked. SECOND: Unless you are in your home, you must try to retreat (i.e., run away) before you can defend yourself. In other words, you need to try to retreat or run away or get away in any way you can, until you can't.

What is the benefits of slapping? ›

From plumper looking skin, smaller pores and reduced appearance of wrinkles, to and better blood circulation—face-slapping can help you in many ways. By activating the muscles in the region and boosting blood flow, the therapy gives you supple skin as it stimulates the production of collagen.

Is slapping effective in a fight? ›

SLAPS AND FINGER WHIPS: The effectiveness of these strikes is a result of the psychological reaction. They are not knockout strikes, but they can set up an opponent for defeat a lot faster and more effectively than punches.

How does power slap work? ›

A “Power Slap Stick” is held behind the backs of the defenders with both hands and “their arms extended towards the ground.” Flinching, chin tucking, shoulder raising or using “any other method to block the strike” results in a foul. Warnings can be issued, and strikers are sometimes allowed a second slap.

What is the punishment for slapping a woman? ›

Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will there by outrage her modesty, 1 [shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to ...

Can you hit a woman if she hits you first? ›

Can I hit a girl if she hit me first? The answer is yes. While it might not be the most common of defenses to assault and battery charges, striking a person before they hit you is a valid legal defense.

Can u hit a girl if she hits U 3 times? ›

Generally speaking, using force to defend yourself is not a problem, particularly if you can show that force was necessary for self defense and that the force you used was not disproportionate to the threat.

Is a slap always assault? ›

Slapping someone involves the physical contact of hitting your hand across another person's face or other part of their body. The physical contact itself makes the act assault, but it would most certainly be considered assault if there was force in the slap.

Is a slap common assault? ›

The main types of assault are: Common assault: when someone uses force, such as pushing or slapping, or makes threats of violence.

How many types of slap are there? ›

Type 1 tears are often seen in people who are middle-aged or older. Type 2: This is the most common SLAP tear type. In Type 2 tears, the labrum and bicep tendon are torn from the shoulder socket. Type 3: Torn labrum tissue is caught in the shoulder joint.

Can you go to jail for slapping someone? ›

Slapping a person is a battery, not an assault. And yes, it is punishable by up to 364 days in jail in the US, specifically Illinois. An assault is a misdemeanor, and can't have more than 364 days in county jail. A felony involves 365 days or more in prison.

Is slapping someone an offence? ›

The offence of common assault under section 39 CJA is committed when someone assaults another person or commits a battery. A battery is the application of unlawful force, for instance, a push or slap, or spitting at someone. An assault is when someone makes another person fear the use of immediate force against them.

Is a slap assault in California? ›

In practice, this means the touching is violent, rude, or disrespectful. Violent battery examples include punching and kicking. A rude battery could be brushing your hand against someone else's cheek. Finally, a disrespectful touching could be something like slapping someone across the face.

Is slapping someone assault in Texas? ›

In order for assault charges to be brought in Texas, there must be bodily injury. Unfortunately, the definition of bodily injury, in Texas is very broad. It is defined as anything that causes pain. A slap across the face that leaves no permanent scar can be bodily injury because it caused pain.

How long is a sentence for slapping someone? ›

240 PC simple assault is a misdemeanor in California law. Felony assault is chared in more serious cases, as we discuss in section 4 below. The penalties for California assault in most cases include a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) and/or up to six (6) months in county jail.

What evidence is needed for assault? ›

Otherwise good reliable eye-witness evidence or good quality photographs accompanied by descriptions of the extent of the injuries will suffice for other summary assault cases.

What is the charge for slapping someone in California? ›

Assault is a misdemeanor offense in California. If you are convicted of assault, you could be sentenced to up to six months in county jail and a fine of $1000 per offense. If you face multiple assault charges, therefore, you could face additional fines and jail time.

Is slapping someone a felony in California? ›


Simple assault is almost always charged as a misdemeanor in the State of California. For example, slapping another person or spitting on them would be considered a simple assault, and would be charged as a misdemeanor.

What is the penalty for slapping someone in California? ›

Simple Assault is a Misdemeanor crime. Conviction can result in six months in a county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both jail time and a fine.

Can you go to jail for slapping someone in Texas? ›

Simple assault in Texas typically carries misdemeanor penalties, but the offense can easily elevate to a felony. A person convicted of simple assault could face jail or prison time and hefty fines and fees.

Do you have to prove damage for assault and battery? ›

The offence is committed when a person intentionally or recklessly assaults another, thereby causing Actual Bodily Harm. It must be proved that the assault (which includes “battery”) “occasioned” or caused the bodily harm.

Can you legally fist fight in Texas? ›

Fist fighting is legal in Texas, as long as both parties consent, no serious bodily injury is done and its not part of a criminal street gang. Texas is one of only two states that allow individuals to engage in a physical altercation if both consent to the fight.


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