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New York Personal Injury Attorneys

What Is An Intentional Tort?

May 1, 2020 in

Most personal injury cases are based on a standard of negligence, which means that the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused his or her injuries and damages. There are other types of cases that also involve intentional acts and in those cases, the focus is on proving that the defendant’s conduct was intentional and caused the plaintiff to suffer injuries and damages because of those intentional actions. 

Intentional torts, such as assault and battery, are often first  prosecuted as criminal cases. While criminal convictions may bring some satisfaction to tort victims, those convictions do not compensate victims for the injuries and damages they have suffered, but for a small amount of restitution that can be occasionally obtained. Fortunately, intentional tort victims can pursue monetary compensation from defendants in civil court actions.

Common Types Of Intentional Tort Cases

As mentioned above, assault and battery are intentional torts that can be pursued in civil court. Other common intentional tort cases include the following:

  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress arises when someone’s extreme or outrageous conduct or behavior causes you to suffer emotional distress.  
  • Defamation consists of both libel and slander when someone makes false written or oral statements that are harmful to you or your business.    
  • Malicious prosecution occurs when someone takes legal action against you without merit. Using the legal system to harass or embarrass someone is illegal and can cause emotional harm and monetary losses in some cases. 
  • Fraud is an intentional tort based on someone’s lies or misrepresentations. If you rely on their false statements and suffer harm as a result, you may have a civil fraud case against him or her. 
  • Sexual assault victims may bring civil lawsuits against their attackers in New York to recover compensation for their injuries and damages. 

Proving An Intentional Tort

In general, to prove an intentional tort, the plaintiff must show that the defendant acted with intent to cause harm, or that the defendant’s actions were so reckless and dangerous that he or she should have known that harm would result. For example, if someone tells you that your loved one has died when your loved one has not died, and you suffered emotional distress as a result, you would need to prove that they intended to make you suffer emotional distress or that they should have known that their actions would cause you emotional distress. 

Compensation For Intentional Torts

Depending on the type of intentional tort case that you have and the injuries and damages that you have suffered, you may be entitled to compensation for economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include monetary losses you have experienced, such as medical expenses, therapy expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings, and future medical bills. Noneconomic damages involve compensation for your emotional injuries, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. In some cases, you may be entitled to recover exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages, when the defendant’s conduct is found to be egregious.

Intentional Tort Cases 

Not all attorneys have the skill and experience to handle intentional tort claims. As mentioned above, many types of plaintiffs’ cases are based on a negligence standard, but intentional tort cases are not based on that same standard. Also, there are typically much shorter statutes of limitations in intentional tort claims, which means that time is of the essence when it comes to filing a claim against someone for their intentional and willful actions. 

If you or someone you know was a victim of an intentional act or tort, contact ou firm to discuss your potential claim and learn about your rights.  

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