A tort is an act that has been committed by one person or party and causes harm to another. The harm that has been caused may involve property damage, physical injury, damage to reputation or the reduction of the value of property. Many torts are caused by some form of negligence, however, an Intentional Tort is something quite different, and this is what we are going to look at now:
Intentional Torts and Negligence
Intentional torts have one serious factor that regular torts do not have, this factor is intent. In order to commit an intentional tort, you will need to undertake an act on purpose. As we have already seen, regular torts primarily involve an act that causes harm to another person etc, that could be caused by negligence. Intentional torts are different, and they depend upon the behavior of the individual committing the crime. Those committing a tort are often referred to as the ‘Tortfeasor’.
If for example, someone was riding a bicycle and they hit you because they weren’t looking where they were going, the court may determine that the case involves negligence. It was the responsibility of the bicycle rider to ride their bike in a safe manner, however, they failed to do so. The bicycle rider breached their duty by hitting you, resulting in you sustaining injuries and possible damage to any property that you were carrying at the time.
However, if the rider of the bicycle had intended to hit you and cause you harm the court may determine that they had committed an intentional tort, based upon the behavior of the Tortfeasor.
Although the differences between an Intentional Tort and negligence may be minor, it’s essential that if the plaintiff can prove the Tortfeasor intended to commit the crime so they may be held liable.
Intentional Torts: Common Types
There are quite a few different types of intentional torts such as:
Assault and battery – If you raise your fist to another individual but you do not hit them, you could still be held liable for assault if they believed you were going to hit them. Battery involves throwing the punch and coming into contact with their body.
False imprisonment – This occurs when one person or party deliberately restricts the freedom of another party.
Fraud – This occurs when an individual intentionally deceives another party so that they can benefit from their fraud personally. Fraud can also be caused by an individual intentionally damaging another party.
Slander and libel – This involves deliberately making a false statement or accusation that ultimately damages the reputation of another person or company. Slander is concerned with verbal statements, whereas libel involves written statements that have been published. In some cases, it establishing the behavior or mindset of the guilty party (Or ‘Defendant’).
Wrongful death – This involves cases when one individual claims that intentional or negligent actions by one person or party caused the death of another.
Intentional Torts and Crimes
Intentional torts may be crimes, however, they may also be considered as civil suits. A civil lawsuit is one that has been brought against a citizen by another. In civil suits, monetary damages are usually paid to the individual if the defendant is found guilty. Crimes can be very different, however, and criminal proceedings are brought about by the state. The state will look to prosecute an individual for a crime if they have violated a criminal statute. Although some criminal cases may result in the plaintiff receiving monetary damages, ultimately the purpose of criminal proceedings is to protect the public and punish the guilty party for their misdemeanor(s).
Knowing the difference between an intentional tort and negligence could help you understand the consequences and seriousness of any case you bring to a civil or criminal court.
If you currently are suffering from a personal injury and are unable to read ‘What are Intenional Torts?’ please watch our Injury Pedia video so you can gain the Personal Injury Information and Answers you are seeking.