Personal Injury Cases- Intentional Tort Versus Negligence

Personal Injury Cases- Intentional Tort Versus Negligence
Personal Injury Cases- Intentional Tort Versus Negligence

Personal Injury Cases- Intentional Tort Versus Negligence


For purposeful versus unintentional injuries (called “torts” in legalese), different standards apply regarding liability.

Updated by University of San Francisco School of Law’s David Goguen, J.D.

The type of harm being asserted will determine how an injury-related insurance claim or civil case plays out. Although there are several personal injury cases and their types, nearly all of them are judged on one of two main theories:

  • Either the defendant intentionally caused injuries to the plaintiff, or the plaintiff (the injured person) experienced harm because of the defendant’s negligence.
  • Intentional torts are captured in the second scenario, while negligence-based torts are covered in the first.

This article will examine the definitions of deliberate and negligent torts in more detail, provide examples of both, and cover other related topics.

(Note: A legal wrong committed by one person against another is referred to as “tort” in personal injury legislation).

Accident-Related Torts

Most injury lawsuits resulting from accidents, such as those involving cars and slip-and-fall occurrences, are categorized as negligence-based torts. A negligence-based case typically consists of the following four key elements:


To protect others from foreseeable harm, it is generally our legal duty to take the kind and level of care that a prudent person would do in any given situation. All drivers have a legal obligation to operate their cars with reasonable care in the event of an automobile collision. This entails following traffic regulations, driving especially cautiously during inclement weather, and maintaining a vehicle’s upkeep. Find out more about personal injury law’s duty to take care of.

Breach Of Causation And Duty

Any behaviour that is irrational and irresponsible in the given situation constitutes a violation of the previously mentioned legal duty to take care of. Using the example of an automobile collision, a driver who runs a red light and hits another vehicle has violated both his legal duty to care and his obligation to drive carefully. In most of the situations, causality is obvious. In essence, the plaintiff’s injuries must be directly caused by the defendant’s actions. Find out more about the reasons and faults of such an accident:

Intentional Torts

Intentional torture, as the name implies, is one of those wrongdoings in law that are done with deliberate intent. Rather than causing harm by accident or through carelessness, most intentional tort cases happen when the defendant acts with the intent to cause actual hurt or offence to another person (or at least the danger of injury or offence), due to negligence.

Intentional tort claims are listed below:

  1. Power source

Even in events when no physical harm is sustained, nearly any offensive or harmful touch qualifies as a battery.

  1. Assault

Although state legislations differ, assault is generally defined as any deliberate act that gives rise to a reasonable fear of immediate harm for the victim (for instance, pointing a loaded gun at someone).

  1. False Imprisonment

When a person intentionally restricts the movement of a person, either constructively or physically) without having the legal authority to do such an act, this kind of claim arises. For instance, a security guard unjustly detains a suspect in shoplifting.

  1. Trespassing

An intentional or wilful tort may arise from someone breaking into another person’s property without consent, authority, or permission.

Defences Against Claim of Intentional Tort

The most frequent defences to an intentional tort claim are that the defendant acted with the plaintiff’s consent (i.e., the defendant touched the plaintiff with permission or entered the premises of the plaintiff with consent) and that the defendant was acting in self-defence or defence of a third party.

Intentional Torts and Criminal Penalties

Criminal charges are another possibility for many deliberate torts. For instance, if the plaintiff is hurt in a battery and/or assault incident, then the victim may sue the attacker for personal injury. Such a claim can be made to acquire monetary damages, and the local attorney may file criminal charges against the attacker following state criminal statutes that classify “assault and battery” as a criminal act.

Similar to this, in certain areas, false imprisonment is regarded as both a criminal and a civil wrong. In addition to this, the same incident may give rise to a criminal charge of kidnapping as well as a claim for personal injury.


The plaintiff in any negligence-based tort case must have faced actual damages and injuries from the incident or accident. Such typical instances of compensable damages are as follows:

  1. Lost income
  2. Medical expenses
  3. Property damages
  4. Pain and suffering





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