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Intentional Tort Laws

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What Are Intentional Torts?

Intentional torts are violations that result from intentional conduct on the part of the defendant. They are categorized under civil laws rather than criminal laws, and can involve a wide range of actions. Most intentional torts are minor violations, although some of them can involve serious legal consequences.

Intentional torts require that the defendant acted intentionally in causing harm to the victim or to the victim’s property. This is different from other civil violations such as negligence or strict liability offenses. Negligence simply involves a failure on the defendant’s part to perform a certain duty or to exercise a certain level of care. Strict liability violations result from certain actions regardless of what measures of care were taken. Despite the commonality of tort laws, intentional tort laws may vary from state to state.

Examples of Intentional Torts

Traditional examples of intentional torts include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Intentional property damage
  • Conversion, trespass to chattels, and other theft-related violations
  • Fraud
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • Trespassing
  • Slander and defamation
  • Invasion of privacy

Intentional torts are often divided into two major categories: torts involving bodily harm, and torts involving property. Some torts such as robbery may involve both bodily harm and property issues. Some torts may have significant overlap with criminal law, especially those torts that involve serious bodily injury.

What Are Some Remedies in Tort Law?

Tort remedies typically involve some sort of damages award. This will often be calculated according to various factors, including the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries or the extent of property damage involved. Some state impose limits on the amount of damages a person collect. Intentional torts may often result in a punitive damages award to discourage further intentional violations.

For other torts, such as theft, the remedy may involve returning the person’s property to them, or reimbursing them for property loss/damage.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with an Intentional Tort Claim?

Intentional torts can often involve some fairly complex legal theories and definitions. You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer if you need assistance with any tort laws. Your attorney can help explain the laws in your area, and can represent you in court as needed. Also, your lawyer can help determine what types of remedies might be available for your claim.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-29-2015 11:16 AM PDT

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