When It's No Accident: Intentional Torts

Posted on: 27 March 2019

You may have considered taking a person to court for being a careless driver or if you are bitten by a dog. Those incidents – and most personal injury situations – are accidents. No one intended to sideswipe you or make you slip and fall in their store. As long as it's an accident, it falls into a different category than an intentional tort. Read on to find out more about this unique category of personal injury law.

Civil Torts

Torts are a civil matter even though the act that led to the tort might be considered criminal. A civil case and a criminal case are litigated in two different courts of law with two very different standards of guilt and punishment. The two come close in some ways because they share some characteristics and to say that a given incident and the outcome of a criminal case does not influence a civil case would be inaccurate.

Intentional Torts

Almost any crime could be turned into a civil intentional tort. The big difference in the punishment is that you can go to prison for crimes but not for civil torts. You generally do not get awarded a sum of money in criminal matters either, but some crimes rise to the level of requiring the defendant to pay restitution to the victim. Here are a few common criminal charges with complementary civil intentional tort potential:

  • The crime is murder and the tort is wrongful death.
  • The crime is assault and the tort is defamation.
  • The crime is false imprisonment and the tort is known by the same name.
  • The crime is rape and the tort is mental trauma.

Common Civil Torts

Not to give the wrong idea – but most intentional civil torts do not have related criminal charges. It should be mentioned that the outcome of a criminal case may not negatively impact the outcome of a civil case (see the O.J. Simpson cases). Here are few more examples of intentional torts that may not have anything to do with a criminal matter.

  • Medical battery – when a surgery is performed without permission.
  • Trespass
  • Fraud

Unintentional Torts

Intentional torts comprise only a small portion of all torts. It is more likely that you would be involved in an unintentional tort like one of below. The main point to keep in mind is that all types of torts are civil matters and can result in financial compensation for the victim, such as the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Food poisoning
  • Dog bites
  • Slip-and-fall accidents in businesses

No matter how you have been harmed, speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible because all torts carry a statute of limitations for taking action.