When sued for an intentional tort, an individual may use a common defense to intentional torts called self-defense. Many people associate self-defense with criminal defense, but it can be a viable defense in a lawsuit for money damages in civil court. Self-defense is the legal right to use reasonable physical force to prevent oneself from bodily harm.

What Is the Use of Deadly Force in a Tort Claim?

Deadly force is a type of self-defense strategy used against a tort claim. It is defined as the use physical force capable of causing serious bodily harm or death.

When Is a Deadly Force Defense Used in a Tort Action?

A defendant may use a deadly force defense when they are being sued for protecting oneself, someone else, or preventing a crime. It may also be used when a family sues the defendant for wrongful death of a family member.

When Can I Use Deadly Force?

A defendant can only use deadly force against a plaintiff after uses deadly force against the defendant or against someone who the defendant is trying to protect.

Is Excessive Force the Same as Deadly Force?

No. Excessive force is not a defense in a tort action. It is defined as using more force than reasonably necessary. The term is often associated with law enforcement using more force than necessary to subdue or arrest a suspect.

Am I Liable If I Used Deadly Force to Defend My Property?

Liability for using deadly force to defend property depends on the jurisdiction where the defendant lives. In some places, deadly force can be used to protect a person’s home, but not other property, such as jewelry. If the plaintiff threatened the use of deadly force when entering a defendant’s home, the defendant can use the same amount of force to protect themselves and their property. Thus, the defendant may not be liable for any injuries that they caused the plaintiff.

Do I Need to Talk to an Attorney about a Deadly Force Defense?

Deadly force is a viable defense in many personal injury cases. However, you want to discuss the facts of the case with a tort attorney to determine if deadly force is your best defense.