Intentional tort against negligence in a personal injury case

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There are obvious and nuanced differences between intentional torts and negligence. A seasoned lawyer will help you understand the different standards.


If you are injured as a result of the conduct of another person, business or entity, you have the right to seek financial compensation through civil proceedings. The legal theory behind these types of claims falls under the category of “tort law”. From a legal point of view, a misdemeanor is a wrongdoing that interferes with or harms another person or property. Wrongdoing includes both accidental driving and intentional behavior. More specifically, if one person harms another because of their negligence, it is considered a negligent tort. Conversely, when a person intentionally injures another person, it is considered an intentional offense. Although you are allowed to claim financial compensation for each type of offense, the process and necessary elements are very different.

Understanding negligence in a personal injury case

The word “negligence” is often defined as a reckless or reckless act. However, in a personal injury case negligence has a very specific legal meaning. When an individual or party fails to exercise sufficient caution, resulting in injury, their conduct could constitute legal negligence.

A simplified way to view negligence as causing harm because you failed to do your due diligence. However, to demonstrate negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, a plaintiff must establish four very specific elements.

Duty of care

Often referred to as a legal standard of care, a person owes a duty to the injured party to have acted in a certain way. For example, if you drive a vehicle, you have an obligation, or legal obligation, to operate your vehicle in a manner that does not cause an accident or injure another person. To succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, an injured plaintiff must show that the relationship between himself and the defendant has established a legal duty of care.

Breach of an obligation

The second element in a negligence case is to prove that the defendant breached his duty or duty of care. In many personal injury lawsuits, this is the crucial factor. Legally, a violation occurs when a defendant’s conduct deviates from what a reasonable and prudent person would have done in similar circumstances. Whether a violation has occurred depends on the parties and the circumstances. For example, a reasonable person would not drive home after drinking two bottles of wine. On the other hand, two reasonable and similarly trained doctors could make different diagnoses based on a patient’s symptoms.

causality

The third element is to prove that the breach of duty caused the harm.

Damage

Finally, to receive financial compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, a plaintiff must have suffered injury and harm, such as medical bills or lost wages if they were absent from work.

Intentional misdemeanors and personal injury lawsuits

As described above, negligence usually results from accidental, reckless, or reckless driving. When the harmful conduct occurs intentionally, it is an intentional tort. In this situation, the accused intended to injure you. For example, the battery is classified as an intentional offense. If someone hits you on purpose, you have the right to sue them for damages.

Image by Dan Burton, via Unsplash.com.

Intentional offenses generally result from criminal behavior, such as theft, forcible confinement, trespassing or sexual assault. While not always criminal in nature, intentionally inflicting emotional distress is also considered an intentional offense. Emotional distress can lead to physical and psychological damage.

Distinguish between intentional and negligent conduct

The main distinction between intentional torts and negligence is the mental state of the defendant. For an intentional tort to occur, the defendant’s conduct must have been intentional. While they may not have intended to suffer all of the resulting damage, they intended to cause damage. For example, most car accidents are the result of careless behavior. However, if someone intentionally struck your vehicle, it could be considered an intentional offense. Some cases of road rage are intentional offenses rather than cases of negligence.

The underlying reason for the conduct is crucial in determining whether a plaintiff must prove the required four elements of negligence or show that the defendant intended to cause harm. To illustrate this, imagine two people playing wrestling. If someone misses the ball and touches you, you could have a negligence case against the person who threw the ball or the person who missed it. To do this, you will need to prove all four elements. This might require proving that the ball was thrown too hard or that the defendants had to catch in a danger zone. Depending on the exact circumstances, it could be very difficult to prove that the driving was negligent. However, if the ball were deliberately thrown at you, you would not be required to prove all four elements because the conduct was intentional.

Damages in negligence and tort cases

One of the reasons people sue for personal injury is to recover damages. Either through a court judgment or an insurance settlement, the injured party seeks financial compensation. The percentage of total damages that a defendant could be required to pay differs if your case is based on negligence or resulted from intentional behavior.

In a negligence case, a plaintiff’s damages could be reduced by his fault percentage. For example, a victim of a car accident could see her total compensation reduced if she speeded at the time of the accident. In other situations, the liability could be divided among several defendants, such as in an accident involving several cars. However, if the defendant’s conduct was intentional, he will have to pay the full damages. It is important to speak to an auto accident lawyer to understand your potential liability.

Intentional misdemeanors and criminal cases

Many intentional misdemeanors also constitute criminal conduct. For example, assault, bodily harm and theft are intentional felonies and misdemeanors. A state prosecutor will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to initiate criminal proceedings against an accused. However, you have the right to bring a civil action whether or not criminal charges have been laid. The burden of proof in criminal proceedings is also considerably higher than in civil cases. Therefore, a conviction is not necessary to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit.

Work with an experienced personal injury lawyer

Whether you’ve been the victim of negligent or intentional conduct, you should work with a personal injury lawyer. There are obvious and nuanced differences between intentional torts and negligence. A seasoned lawyer will help you understand the different standards that apply in each case and what type of evidence will be needed to support your position.


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