When another person injures you or someone you love, the conduct of the defendant falls into a category known as “torts.” Torts are wrongful acts that harm another person. Torts typically involve intentional or negligent acts.
While both are torts, how they are handled and the expected compensation can vary. Therefore, you should consult with an attorney to see how your case might progress and to get a better understanding of which area your case falls under. In the meantime, we will discuss the fundamental differences.
How your case proceeds depends on the type of tort you allege in your injury case. Again, you should consult with an attorney before assuming that your case qualifies for one of the following types:
Personal injury claims typically base themselves on negligence. Negligence is when a person falls below the reasonable, acceptable standard of care for protecting those around them. A critical difference between a negligence-based claim and an intentional-based claim is the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the accident.
Negligent people do not intend to hurt someone with their actions, but they are still responsible for those actions because their careless or reckless behavior caused serious injury.
To file and win a negligence-based tort, you must prove that four elements exist:
Intentional torts are not negligence based. Instead of an action that unexpectedly leads to an injury, the defendant purposely caused your injury. Intentional torts typically stem from purposeful acts. These are cases where the defendant clearly intended to cause emotional distress, bodily harm, and knew damages would occur.
Some acts that typically qualify as an intentional tort:
All tort cases are civil cases. Therefore, if you wish to receive damages, you must file a civil lawsuit against the defendant (at-fault party). In a civil case, you seek damages (compensation) from the defendant, but you are not punishing them criminally. They may face criminal charges if they conducted an intentional tort and sometimes in cases of negligence.
The damages for negligence torts are relatively the same and come from compensatory and non-compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are those that directly repay the victim for their costs, including medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Non-compensatory damages focus on areas like pain, suffering, and emotional trauma.
Negligence torts can include punitive damages, but this is rare.
Intentional torts have a broader scope, and the damages may be more generous because the defendant caused harm purposely rather than accidentally. Also, the chance of punitive damages is higher with an intentional tort.
How you prove, your case depends on the tort you file. In a negligence tort case, you must show that your damages stem from the harm caused by the defendant’s actions. You must use a preponderance of the evidence to show the court that the defendant is responsible for those damages.
In intentional tort cases, you must prove intent. Meaning, you must show that the person caused your injuries purposely and they knew the consequences of their actions.
If you are injured, the last thing you need to worry about is what type of tort you can file. Instead, you should speak with an attorney. Seeking compensation against a person or company is a big step, and it requires legal representation.
You can receive a free consultation from the attorneys at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, LLP, today. We will review your case and help determine the type of tort you have. Then, we will aggressively represent your right to compensation in court.
Schedule your free case evaluation at one of our three office locations or contact us online.