What is an intentional tort?

The most common basis for a Texas personal injury lawsuit is negligence. However, sometimes lawsuits are based on what is known in legal terms as an “intentional tort.”

 

In the most simple terms, an intentional tort, as the name implies, is a wrongful act intentionally committed by the wrongdoer. Rather than negligence, which is unintentional, an intentional tort involves committing the act knowingly and purposefully.  

 

The main difference between an intentional tort and negligence, in terms of personal injury lawsuits, is that the plaintiff must also prove intent in addition to the other elements of a personal injury lawsuit. Intent means that the defendant acted either on purpose or with substantial knowledge that an injury or other harm was likely to occur.

 

An intentional tort is a civil wrong, which may or may not also be a criminal act. For example, assault and battery are both intentional torts that can also result in criminal charges and prosecution.

 

In addition to assault and battery, other types of intentional torts include:

 

  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • Slander
  • Libel
  • False imprisonment
  • Trespass
  • Fraud
  • Nuisance
  • Theft

Often, the damages awarded in cases of intentional torts are more substantial than those awarded in cases of negligence. The large amount of damages awarded are intended to serve, in part, as a deterrent. Society wants to discourage people from intentionally committing wrongful acts against fellow citizens.

 

Punitive damages are more frequently available in intentional tort cases than in other types of personal injury lawsuits. Punitive damages are intended to serve as a punishment rather than as direct compensation to the victim for their losses and injuries.

 

If you have been the victim of an intentional tort, you may have grounds for bringing a Texas personal injury lawsuit. The Texas personal injury lawyers of Fears | Nachawati provide tort victims with free legal advice. To speak to one of our attorneys, completely free of charge, email us at info@fnlawfirm.com or call us on our toll-free number at 1.866.705.7584.

Punitive damages in wrongful death cases

Texas is among a limited number of states that allows for punitive damages in wrongful death cases. Punitive damages are essentially a means of punishing the defendant. In order to collect punitive damages in a Texas wrongful death case, the defendant’s behavior must have been either intentional, malicious or reckless.

Punitive damages are sometimes also referred to as exemplary damages. This is because punitive damages can serve as a way to warn others against engaging in reckless acts.

Factors that go into determining how much the plaintiff will receive in punitive damages include the defendant’s personal wealth, the nature of the defendant’s conduct and any statutory limits that have been placed on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded. Punitive damages are awarded at the discretion of the jury.

Punitive damages are different from compensatory damages. Compensatory damages compensate the victim’s family for the specific losses they have suffered due to the victim’s death. These can include loss of companionship and loss of income.

Texas law outlines the specific circumstances under which punitive damages can be awarded. The two elements that must be present were laid out by the Texas Supreme Court in 1998. They are:

·         The defendant undertook actions which involved an extreme degree of risk in terms of the likelihood and extent of a serious injury that could be inflicted on another person.

·         The defendant must have had an actual, subjective awareness of the risk involved with their actions but knowingly proceeded with the actions anyway.

Fears | Nachawati represents individuals in bringing wrongful death lawsuits in Texas. Email us at info@fnlawfirm.com or call us on our toll-free number at 1.866.705.7584 for a free consultation.