Intentional Torts

A tort is a civil breach against a person, though the infringement may be criminal in nature. There are two types of torts: intentional and negligence. In the case of a negligence tort, injuries are the result of the accidental actions of another person. An intentional tort is the result of a purposeful act such as assault, battery, false imprisonment, trespass to chattels, trespass to land, conversion, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. If you have been a victim of a tort, please use this form to contact us for a free case evaluation.

Intentional Torts vs. Negligence

A negligence tort requires that you suffered a physical injury or your property sustained physical damage as a result of the defendant’s actions. An intentional tort does not require proof of a physical injury or physical damage. If someone spits on you, you probably didn’t suffer any provable physical harm, but spitting on someone is battery, which is an intentional tort.

Intentional Torts Doctrine

Intentional torts have a rigid structure and are not as complex as negligence. They follow the elements for which they are named. For example, the elements of battery are:

  • An action by the defendant
  • The action was intentional
  • The intentional action resulted in harm or offense
  • The harm or offense was caused by “touching” the plaintiff

In this case, physical contact doesn’t have to be made, such as in the spitting example above. If someone throws an object at you and hits you with it, that person didn’t physically touch you, but his actions caused harm — battery.

However, not all intentional torts are this straightforward. Sometimes, an intentional tort could be ruled as negligence and vice versa. An intentional tort attorney with a proven track record will investigate your case to help determine if the tort was intentional or negligence.

Intentional Torts and Damages

While you could win in court without showing damages, most people won’t waste time filing such a lawsuit. You might get “nominal” damages, which could be $1. Nominal damages are in name only. You don’t receive compensation for them. This is an important factor if you need to show a legal right. For example, if someone trespasses on your land and does not damage it, you might win a case for nominal damages.

However, with this ruling, you can get an injunction against the trespassing individual. Should that person trespass again, even without causing damages, you could bring contempt sanctions against that person. Additionally, you could use the nominal damages ruling for an award of punitive damages. If the person who was caught trespassing had done it before and ignored your requests to stay off your property, and you know that the person will continue to trespass even after being ordered to stay off your property by the court, you could ask the court for punitive damages to deter that person from continuing their invasive activity.

Contact an Intentional Tort Attorney

If you have been the victim of an intentional tort, it’s important to get in contact with experienced attorneys — choosing the right lawyer can make a world of difference in your case. That’s why you should contact Morgan & Morgan by filling out a free case evaluation today. We assign our clients a full team of focused lawyers and supporting legal staff to provide the best results and service possible. Regardless of your situation, you’ll be part of the Morgan & Morgan family and have our attorneys by your side, fighting for you.


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