When you have been hurt in some way through no fault of your own, you may be speaking of an intentional tort. You may have heard the term "tort" but the meaning is not as complicated as this unfamiliar term might seem. Read on to find out what a tort is and also what it is not.
What is a Tort?
To help you understand what a tort is, a few examples might help. Not all forms of harm are torts but almost all forms of harm can be worked out using civil (or personal injury) law. You can sue someone using tort law just like you might for getting hurt in a car accident. Here are some examples of torts:
- Your reputation is damaged when someone said or wrote damaging and untrue information about you that was accessible by the public (defamation — slander and libel).
- You were tricked into losing financial resources (fraud).
- After providing a warning, someone trespassed on your property (trespass).
- A loved one was killed due to the negligent actions of another (wrongful death).
- You were assaulted and injured by someone (battery or assault).
- You suffered harm while in a medical facility or while being treated by a medical professional when surgery or other medical acts were perpetrated without your permission (medical battery).
- You were held against your will (false imprisonment).
What separates the above forms of harm from ordinary personal injury situations is intent. The above harm was not a result of carelessness or an accident. The harm done was intentional.
Not an Intentional Tort
That leaves several personal injury situations that are not thought to be intentional, such as:
- Slip and falls
- Dog bites
- Some types of medical malpractice
- Car accidents
- Faulty products
It should be mentioned that the above unintentional harm actions are not always fully accidental. For example, if it can be shown that the manufacturer knew about a faulty product but did not act, punitive damages can be awarded. They are still not considered intentional torts, however.
Criminal Acts and Torts
You might notice from the list of tort examples that some of those seem awfully close to being crimes — and they are. Many intentional torts are also crimes. The same act can be dealt with using criminal law and tort law. That means different cases, different courts, different burdens of proof, and different punishments for the perpetrators.
Intentional torts are a subset of personal injury law and victims must abide by a statute of limitations. If you have been harmed by the negligent or intentional actions of another, don't hesitate to speak to a personal injury lawyer about your case as soon as possible.
For more information about personal injury law, contact a company like Borbi Clancy Patrizi, LLC.