A tort is a conduct that can cause harm or injury to another person. It is a civil wrong that the injured party can seek compensation for through a civil court. Torts are usually negligent acts.
However, an intentional tort is an intentional act that harms another person. The injured party can seek compensation for damages in civil court just like they could for a negligent act that caused an injury.
Negligence is the failure to act with reasonable care to avoid causing someone harm or injury. In other words, the person did not intend to cause you harm.
However, because of their careless or reckless behavior, they created a situation that resulted in your harm. Examples of negligence include slip and fall accidents and automobile accidents.
Intentional torts cause injury because of the person’s intentional harmful acts. Many intentional torts are also criminal offenses.
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Intentional acts that could give rise to a personal injury claim in Texas include:
Texas Penal Code §22.01 defines assault as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person. Assault also includes threatening to cause imminent bodily injury to another person or threatening to cause physical contact that is offensive or provocative.
Assault is one of the most common types of intentional torts that lead to personal injury claims.
A person could intend to inflict emotional distress without causing the person physical harm or injury. Emotional distress could be caused without any physical contact with the victim.
However, the person’s intentional conduct is so extreme and outrageous that the victim suffers from extreme mental anguish. As a result, the victim may develop PTSD, chronic depression, anxiety, and other emotional disorders.
False imprisonment occurs when a person intentionally and unlawfully prevents the person from leaving. It can include physically restraining someone from leaving. It can also include threatening them with harm if they leave or making false statements to keep them from leaving.
The civil claim is separate from any criminal charges the state might file against the person who caused your injury. Even if the state does not file charges or the person is acquitted of criminal charges, you can still recover damages in a civil action.
However, you have the burden of proving your case by a preponderance of the evidence. This level of proof is not as high as beyond a reasonable doubt used in criminal cases. A preponderance of the evidence means there is a greater chance that the allegations against the defendant are true than untrue.
The legal elements of an intentional tort claim are:
An experienced Austin personal injury lawyer needs to review your case. Some intentional tort claims rely on proving specific intent. Other cases can be won by proving general intent.
A personal injury lawyer helps you prepare a solid case by gathering evidence that convinces a jury that each of the above elements is true. A lawyer also documents your damages and calculates the correct value for your claim to maximize your recovery.
You may recover compensation for financial losses caused by the injury or harm inflicted by the defendant. Economic damages include:
Victims may also receive compensation for the non-economic damages caused by intentional torts. These damages represent the “pain and suffering” the person caused because of their conduct. Examples include:
Punitive damages are awarded in a small number of personal injury claims. You must prove that the defendant acted with gross negligence, fraud, or malice.
Malice is defined as the specific intent to cause substantial harm or injury. Therefore, you could be entitled to punitive damages for an intentional tort claim. These damages “punish” the defendant for their behavior and increase the amount of money you receive for your claim.
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