What Is an Intentional Tort?
An intentional tort occurs when someone means to cause you harm and succeeds in doing so. In legalese, a “tort” is any injury or loss affecting your physical health, emotional well-being, finances or reputation that can be recompensed. As a legal remedy in a case involving an intentional tort, a civil trial judge or jury can order the person who inflicts the damage to pay compensation, make restitution, and pay punitive damages (i.e., a noncriminal fine).
One way to think about an intentional tort is that it usually exists as both a crime and a personal injury. These examples of actions that may merit filing an intentional lawsuit illustrates the dual nature:
- Assault, including both physical attacks and direct threats
- Conversion, which is the legal term for stealing that takes the form of falsely asserting ownership; the perpetrator “converts” the victim’s property to his or her possession
- Defamation, including libelous (i.e., published) and slanderous (i.e., spoken) attacks on reputation
- False imprisonment/kidnapping, which describes any action taken to prevent a person from voluntarily leaving a location
- Fraud, or misrepresenting facts for monetary gain
- Identity theft
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Invasion of privacy
- Trespassing, including entering without permission and refusing to leave when asked
None of these things happen by accident. Assaulting, defrauding and stealing from someone define intending to leave the victim worse off. Contrasting with this, succeeding with a personal injury claim requires showing negligence or recklessness. Rather than a lack of concern for a victim’s health or property, an intentional tort represents a desire to hurt.
While that distinction often seems apparent to the victim of an intentional tort, convincing a court that a perpetrator acted with intent can be difficult. Hiring an experienced and dedicated Columbus intentional tort attorney to help collect and present evidence is essential. A run-of-the-mill Ohio personal injury lawyer may not be up to the challenge because clearly proving motive becomes as important as showing harm.
Seeking assistance from a plaintiff’s attorney in Columbus, OH, who concentrates on handling intentional tort cases also makes sense because a criminal victim’s lawyer could focus more on securing a conviction than on ensuring the defendant’s victim receives compensation. The fact any criminal prosecution for offenses like trespassing and false imprisonment would take place separately from the civil lawsuit practically guarantees this. What your legal representative perceives to be the best outcome will definitely influence how he or she operates.
Intentional tort attorneys from Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman always put their clients’ interests first. While they will take advantage of opportunities to use testimony and physical evidence from a criminal proceeding, they will also invest the time required to put together a strong civil case with as much additional information as possible.
If you have questions about a lawsuit against a person who set out to cause you harm, contact us today by filling out this web form or calling (614) 221-3318. The consultation will cost you nothing.