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A Personal Injury Lawyer’s Guide To Intentional Torts

hands threatening to punch
Madeleine Jones
August 9, 2021

A tort happens when one party causes harm and damage to another party. It requires the law to determine liability and the damages caused by it. There are three types of torts:

  • Strict Liability Torts
  • Intentional Torts
  • Negligent Torts

In this piece, we will discuss intentional torts. You must understand what an intentional tort is in case you ever find yourself in a situation like this you’ll know what to do.

Intentional Torts

A way of defining an intentional tort is what a person acts in a way to cause damage or harm another person. This type of tort is different from the negligent and strict liability torts because of the wrongdoer’s intent.

In a negligent tort, the individual who commits the tort doesn’t intend to inflict harm. In a strict liability tort, the individual who commits the tort is liable, no matter if he intended the harm.

5 Types of Intentional Torts

Battery or Assault

Battery is when a person causes harm to another by physical contact. For example, punching someone. Assault happens when a person threatens another with harmful contact. For example, pointing a gun at someone. In both cases, there is an intent present to cause harm.

False Imprisonment

This is when a person who has no legal authority doesn’t allow another person to move freely without their consent. The person committing this is restricting movement by physical threats.

Intentional Cause of Emotional Distress

This kind of intentional tort happens when a person suffers emotional distress because of the reckless actions of another person.

Trespassing

There are two types of trespass:

  • Trespass to land: is the intentional entry or usage of someone else’s property
  • Trespass to chattels: involves the illegal interference with someone else’s personal possessions.

Fraud

This is the intentional action of deceiving someone else for personal gain or to harm them.

Conversion

Conversion involves the illegal act of taking someone else’s personal property, depriving them of their right to use it. For example, if a robber steals your car, dismantles it, and sells the parts, you won’t be able to enjoy it or drive it.

Intentional Torts VS. Crimes

Sometimes, the act of intentional tort can also be charged as a crime. A perfect example of this is the act of battery.

Let’s say Ben physically attacked and robbed Mike in an alley. As a result, Mike lost his valuables and sustained severe injuries.

Battery is a crime, so the state attorney will charge and prosecute Ben. If Ben is found guilty, he could be facing a criminal record, and incarceration, as well as owing monetary fines. 

At the same time, Mike should be able to file a civil lawsuit against Ben. This would be brought upon by a private citizen against another. The goal of the lawsuit is for Mike to seek compensation for the damages inflicted by Ben.

Criminal Cases VS. Civil Cases

There is an overlap between these cases, but, they are quite different. A criminal case involves an offense against society or the state. Therefore, sentencing is meant to punish the wrongdoer through prison time or fines. On the other hand, a civil suit (for example an intentional tort) involves an offense against another person. The main goal of civil cases is to get the victim compensation.

In addition, the standards of proof for torts vs. crimes are also different. A criminal case requires the plaintiff to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. A civil case uses a preponderance of the evidence.

Because of this big difference, it is possible for the defendant to not be found guilty for criminal charges but in a civil suit still, be liable for damages.

When To Contact An Intentional Torts Lawyer

You should contact a lawyer when you have sustained injuries or suffered property damage due to an intentional tort. Unlike the other kinds of torts, an intentional tort needs you to prove intent or recklessness.

Proving this can be challenging in this kind of case. Sometimes direct evidence through text messages, email conversation, or a video where the person confesses the intent of a tort is very rare. Circumstantial evidence, on the other hand, is indirect evidence where you have to use inference and reason to prove the facts.

An intentional torts lawyer will be able to help you assess all of the evidence and give you the best legal advice. They will guide you through the civil lawsuit process and fight for you. 

Intentional Tort Attorneys

At Cogburn Law, we represent personal injury victims who seek compensation for their damages in intentional torts cases. If you were injured by someone else’s recklessness or negligence, contact us today! Our Las Vegas and Henderson personal injury attorneys offer a free initial consultation on your case, and you only pay if we win!