Does grabbing someone by the shoulders and shaking them count as assault?

I was in my college class and another student who as I was told by people has been “harassing me” grabbed me by the shoulders and began to roughly shake me while yelling. Usually he just yells and cusses me out. He also knows I have scoliosis so that hurt me more than normal people. Can I get him for harassment and/or assault?

Asked on November 30, 2011 under Personal Injury, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Any unpermitted touching can potentially be assault, so you can report this matter to the police, for example, and see if they will investigate and/or recommend for prosecution. They may not, since in addition to unpermitted touching, there must also be elements of criminal intent which they may conclude were absent--or they simply may feel it's too minor a matter to take up police and prosecutorial crime.

You could potential sue this person civilly for assault, but unless you suffered some actual injury or incurred medical costs as a result--not just experienced short-lived pain--it would not worthwhile; that's because what you can sue for is comensurate with the extent of injury and/or costs, so without injury or costs, there's no point to suing.

This might be best dealt with through the university/college discipline system.

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