A Basic Guide To Understanding Intentional Torts

In legalese, the term “tort” refers to any act that a business or individual commits and causes physical harm to another person. In civil lawsuits, this usually involves harm to an individual, their property, or their reputation. It can also involve diminishing the value of something. Most torts and personal injury lawsuits result from the negligent actions or behavior of a company or person. However, there is a section of tort law that focuses on intent or the intentional act of a person.

Intent vs. Negligence

An intentional tort is based on an element that other torts are not. To commit this type of tort, the individual must have done something “on purpose” or with the intent to cause some type of harm. Conversely, the focus of other torts is not usually on intent. Intent depends solely on at-fault party’s mindset or “tortfeasor” as it is referred to in legalese. For example, in a motor vehicle accident, if none of the involved parties intended to hit the other, this would be a case of simple negligence.

While the at-fault party had a duty to drive safely, he or she breached that duty by hitting the other vehicle and causing that party’s injuries. However, if one individual intended to hit the other and cause them physical harm, he intentionally committed battery. As a result, the exact same collision that resulted in the same physical harm to the victim is now considered an intentional tort.

While the difference between intentional and negligent behavior is subtle, it is equally important to both defendants and plaintiffs in an intentional tort civil lawsuit. If the defendant can show proof that there was no intent on their behalf, they might not have to compensate the plaintiff for their financial losses. Consequently, intent is irrelevant in a regular negligence lawsuit and therefore, not a valid defense in a personal injury case.

Examples of Intentional Torts

• assault and battery
• defamation
• false imprisonment
• fraud
• libel and slander
• misrepresentation
• wrongful death claims

Crimes and Intentional Torts

Many intentional torts can also be classified crimes. However, the differences are very subtle yet important. Personal Injury Lawyer in Vancouver knows that a tort can give rise to a civil lawsuit wherein one individual goes against another in order to seek payment of damages. On the other hand, crimes and criminal proceedings are different in that they are brought about by state governments against individuals that have violated criminal statutes. Unlike civil cases, a criminal case is about protecting the public and punishing the wrongdoer. When you are involved in a case that falls under the preview of tort laws, you have the right to file a claim and get compensation.