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Intentional Torts

While most personal injury cases center around the legal concept of “negligence,” some arise from incidents in which another party intentionally caused harm to the injured victim. Such purposeful harm is referred to legally as an “intentional tort” and victims can recover from the party who harmed them by filing a claim for personal injury in civil court.

The following are some examples of intentional torts that can lead to personal injury cases:

  • Assault;
  • Battery;
  • Malicious prosecution;
  • False imprisonment;
  • False arrest; and
  • Intentional Infliction of emotional distress.

In order to recover from another party for an intentional tort, the injured individual must not only prove that the harm occurred, but that the party intended for the harm to occur. Because these cases involve purposeful harm, there are often more damages available in this type of case. In addition, if a violent act results in a homicide, the surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.

Legal Process For Intentional Tort Cases

Victims who believe they have been intentionally injured have four years from the date of the injury to file a civil claim against the offending party (or two years for a wrongful death claim). The civil case will be separate from any criminal case that results from the harm, which is common because many intentional torts are also against criminal law in Florida. For example, following an assault, the assailant may be prosecuted by the state as well as face civil liability directly to the victim.

However, intent is often an important part of proving a criminal charge and, therefore, a criminal conviction can be useful evidence in proving intent in a subsequent personal injury claim. Even if there is no criminal conviction, however, it may still be possible to prevail in a personal injury claim for an intentional tort. This is because the burden of proof is lower in a civil claim than it is in a criminal case.

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