Explaining the difference between a full tort and a limited tort requires defining multiple legal terms.

First, a tort is a harm. In a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that a tort resulted from the defendant’s action or inaction. Torts can be physical injuries, financial loss, loss of or damage to property, loss of reputation, or emotional suffering. The list of actionable torts is quite long, so consulting with an Ohio plaintiff’s attorney can benefit anyone who believes he or she was harmed by a negligent, reckless, or malicious individual or organization. Often, many types of harms can be claimed from the same set of alleged behaviors.

Depending on the case, a plaintiff who files a civil lawsuit can sue the defendant for one or more of the following types of damages.

  • Economic damages: These are the direct financial costs of dealing with the alleged tort. For a car accident case, economic damages could include medical bills, money lost from having to miss work, and money spent repairing or replacing a car. For a fraud or theft case, economic damages could include the money the defendant took and the money spent on improving security.
  • Noneconomic damages: These are often called “pain and suffering.” A standard list of noneconomic damages includes physical suffering, emotional distress, pain, loss of ability to enjoy previous activities, decline in social standing, and loss of the ability to act in one’s full capacity as a parent, caregiver, or spouse.
  • Punitive damages: These are noncriminal fines assessed in addition to any economic and/or noneconomic damages. Generally, only a defendant found to have acted recklessly will be ordered to pay punitive damages. Under civil law, behaving recklessly means acting without any regard for other people’s health, safety, or lives.


A limited tort involves asking only for economic damages or only for noneconomic damages. This comes up most often in intentional tort lawsuits, where identifying harms other than either financial losses or emotional distress would be difficult. What makes a tort intentional is the goal the defendant had to inflict harm. Succeeding with an intentional tort claim requires proving the intent instead of showing only negligence.

A partial list of intentional torts and the type of limited tort lawsuit each might prompt follows:

  • Conversion, or stealing by falsely asserting ownership, for which the legal remedy secured by an Ohio intentional tort attorney could be returning the property or paying the value of the property
  • Libelous (i.e., published) or slanderous (i.e., spoken) defamation, for which the remedy would be paying damages commensurate with the cash value of the loss in reputation
  • Fraud, for which a legal remedy could be paying compensation equal to the amount of money, goods, or services obtained by misrepresenting facts
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress, for which the only legal remedy is paying compensation for mental anguish


A full tort involves asking for economic and noneconomic damages. Punitive damages can be awarded in either a full tort or a limited tort, but, again, securing punitive damages almost always requires proving recklessness.

If you have suffered a harm and want to hold the responsible party accountable, consider scheduling a free consultation with an Ohio intentional tort attorney from Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman. You can reach our main offices in Columbus by calling (614) 221-3318 or connect with us online.