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Intentional Torts

Not all injuries are caused by accidents. Sometimes, an individual acts in a manner with the intention of causing harm to those around him or her. He or she might not have a specific victim in mind or might injure an individual other than the intended victim. No matter what the offender’s intention, any victim who suffers an injury because of his or her actions may file an intentional tort claim to recover compensation for his or her losses.

Examples of Intentional Torts

  • Assault. This is the act of threatening to cause physical harm to another party. Whether the victim actually suffers physical harm or not does not matter – assault refers to any action that
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    can cause a victim to reasonably fear that he or she is in real danger of bodily harm;

  • Battery. Battery is the act of actually causing physical harm to a victim. Battery and assault are often charged together because they frequently occur together – assault is the threat of harm, battery is the harm;
  • Fraud. Any act of intentionally deceiving another individual or group of people for one’s personal gain is an act of fraud;
  • Libel and slander. Both of these refer to the act of character defamation, which is the intentional harm of an individual’s reputation that can result in personal and professional difficulties. Libel refers to published written statements and images. Slander refers to spoken statements. For a statement to be considered to be libel or slander, it must not be true and must be made in an attempt to harm the victim’s character; and
  • False imprisonment. When one party intentionally restricts another party’s physical freedom, the victim may file a false imprisonment claim.

Intent is Key

What sets intentional torts apart from negligence cases is the element of intent. In a negligence-based personal injury claim, it does not matter if the party responsible for the victim’s injury intended to cause harm. If the victim can prove that the negligent party’s actions caused his or her injury, he or she has a valid claim. With an intentional tort case, however, the claimant must prove that the defendant intended to hurt him or her.

Intentional Torts Can Also Be Criminal Offenses

When an action like battery results in bodily harm to a victim, the offender may be found guilty of a criminal offense. The victim may also file a civil claim against him or her for monetary compensation for his or her damages. The criminal charge, though, is brought by the state of Tennessee. If the party accused of the offense is found guilty, he or she may face certain penalties like jail time and fines. Regardless of whether the alleged offender is found guilty, the victim may still bring a civil suit against him or her to recover damages.

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