As personal injury and wrongful death lawyers based in Columbus, attorneys with Agee Clymer practice tort law. “Tort” is the legal term for a negligent, reckless or intentional act that causes harm and which gives the victim a right to seek compensation from the person or organization that was at fault.
“Intentional torts” are exactly what the name implies—harmful actions taken with an intent to injure, kill, or inflict emotional or financial suffering. Agee Clymer intentional tort attorneys primarily advise and represent victims of physical and vehicular assault. Other harmful actions that can give rise to intentional tort claims are fraud, theft/conversion, libel, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Looking at that list, it becomes clear that most intentional torts are also crimes. A person who is investigated for and/or charged with committing a criminal offense can be sued for inflicting an intentional tort even if they are never convicted. Still, reporting an intentional tort to police almost always helps with pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Regardless of what law enforcement officials and prosecutors do, all the evidence gathered during the criminal investigation can be used by the victim’s attorney to build the case for monetary compensation.
Victims of intentional torts can claim the same types of monetary damages from at-fault parties as can victims of recklessness or negligence. Damages are categorized as economic, noneconomic, and punitive.
Economic damages represent calculations and estimates of direct financial losses from suffering harm. In an intentional tort case, these may include past and future medical expenses, lost wages and loss of future earnings, and loss of value in stolen or converted property.
Noneconomic damages are assessed in compensation for physical pain, emotional suffering, and, when applicable, loss of reputation. These are called noneconomic damages because no one can put a precise price on the real harms.
Collecting economic and noneconomic damages for an intentional tort usually requires winning a civil jury trial. Part of the decision to go to court must be determining whether the at-fault person or organization has the financial resources needed to pay a jury award.
Section 2315.21 of the Ohio Revised Code sets the rules for awarding punitive damages. The statute explicitly gives people the right to claim punitive damages when “the actions or omissions of [a] defendant demonstrate malice or aggravated or egregious fraud, or that defendant as principal or master knowingly authorized, participated in, or ratified actions or omissions of an agent or servant that so demonstrate.” The portion of the quoted sentence after the comma authorizes intentional tort lawsuits seeking punitive damages against businesses and the employers of workers who cause harm.
ORC 2315.21 also requires a civil trial jury to award punitive damages only after first awarding economic and noneconomic damages. Partnering with an experienced intentional tort claims attorney is almost always a good idea. Doing so is pretty much required when seeking punitive damages.
Agee Clymer intentional tort attorneys are available to advise and represent clients all across Ohio. We offer free consultations, and we take appointments online. If you prefer to speak with an intentional tort lawyer directly, call us at (614) 221-3318.