A person or a company commits an intentional tort when they act in ways that they know will cause harm. That simplified definition covers both parts of the legal term—intent and injury, which lawyers call a tort—but it does not really explain what types of action count as intentional torts.
The Cleveland intentional tort attorneys with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman offer a broader definition and additional examples elsewhere on our website. Here, we just want to focus on the kinds of intentional torts that are most likely to result in complaints from victims and legal claims for monetary compensation and payment of damages.
“Fraud” describes any misrepresentation or lie made to illegally or improperly receive money, property, or services. Examples include impersonating another person, offering counterfeit or nonexistent items for sale, and making false claims about products and investments. In more precise terms, fraud can take the form of using someone else’s credit card, taking money for real estate one does not own, and labeling a health product as a cure for an incurable condition.
Fraud can be used to accomplish theft, such as when a person registers at a hotel under a false name and then skips out on the bill. Another example of engaging in fraud to commit theft would be putting false entries into a company’s ledger and pocketing the misdirected funds (i.e., embezzling).
Theft actually covers a range of actions, including taking something like a car without permission and no plan for returning it, burglary, illegally occupying a building, and robbery. What makes the action the intentional tort of theft is that the person does it in order to take possession of money, goods, or services they do not have a right to claim.
Assault and Battery
The difference between a personal injury and the intentional tort of assault and battery is that a personal injury results from negligence or recklessness. Meaning to physically hurt or threaten someone is the very definition of intent.
Entering a building, vehicle, or property without the owner’s permission constitutes trespassing, which is a key component of burglary. A trespasser does not always commit theft, but he or she does inflict harm or create the potential for harm by being where he or she is not welcome.
Infliction of Emotional Distress
The damage a victim of an intentional tort suffers is rarely limited to financial losses and/or physical injuries. Many claims filed for fraud, theft, assault, and trespassing include requests for payment for inflicting emotional distress. Lingering fear, mistrust, depression, and even post-traumatic stress have real costs even if they cannot be directly calculated in the same ways as the value of a stolen item or the cost of medical treatment.
Note that most intentional torts are also violations of criminal law. A skilled intentional tort lawyer in Cleveland will know how to access and use evidence collected by police and prosecutors to pursue civil claims for compensation and noneconomic damages.
If you believe someone has harmed you intentionally, reach out to the plaintiffs’ attorneys with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman to discuss your options for holding them accountable. We offer free consultations, so schedule your appointment today by calling (800) 678-3318 or by filling out this online contact form.