Images of accidents often come to mind when someone mentions “personal injury claims.” And yes, many lawsuits derive from incidents involving someone’s careless-but-not-malicious actions. A person backing out of a driveway may have no intention of hitting a bicyclist, but these mishaps occur. So do incidents of drivers getting out of their vehicles and punching someone after a verbal dispute. Those scenarios hardly reflect something accidentally. Rather, they are examples of intentional torts.
Malice and the intentional tort
Intentional torts typically involve a deliberate intention to cause harm. The harm could be physical, mental, or financial, with the key element being the negligent party acted with intent.
For example, someone may become angry over a perceived verbal insult. Anger leads the person to physically assault the other person, opening doors to criminal prosecution and a civil lawsuit. Such an attack is deliberate and malicious and has nothing to do with self-defense.
Another example of an intentional tort would be something involving fraud. Lying to someone to procure money through a telemarketing scam reflects an everyday fraudulent activity. Email phishing schemes might fall under the same umbrella.
Defamation could be another example of an intentional tort. Knowingly spreading malicious and false statements about a business rival may backfire if doing so leads to a civil lawsuit.
Seeking damages for an intentional tort
When someone suffers harm due to an intentional tort, the person may explore legal options to reclaim their losses. Anyone dealing with broken bones due to a physical assault may sue for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Not all harm is physical, though.
As seen in income losses due to defamation or outright theft, a victim might suffer financial harm. A civil judgment may provide compensation for losses and, possibly, punitive damages.