Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What Is A Clearwater Intentional Tort?

A tort[1] is an act that is committed by one person and ends up causing harm to a second person.  That harm can be in the form of a physical injury, damage to property, or both. Most torts are the result of negligence, which is oftentimes described as a careless act.  But what if the act is intentional or on purpose? 

Negligent vs. Intentional Acts in Florida

Whether or not a tort is intentional depends on the mindset of the person committing the act.  The difference between negligence and intent is subtle, but it is also very important.  If a defendant can prove that he or she did not intend to commit the act that caused harm, they may be able to avoid liability.

Types of Clearwater Intentional Torts

There are several common types of intentional torts. Fraud, misrepresentation, slander, libel and false imprisonment are all usually considered intentional torts. So, too are assault and battery and false imprisonment, and sometimes a wrongful death[2] claim can arise from the commission of an intentional tort.

           Assault - Personal injury law protects your right to control what does or does not touch your body. An assault is an act, or threat to act, that is intended to put a person in fear of imminent non-consensual physical touching. The tort of assault protects people from the fear that they will be physically harmed. Actual physical contact is not required, and in fact, if there is physical contact, the assault becomes a battery.

                   Battery - Battery is the intentional, non-consensual, harmful or offensive touching of another person, either by or put in motion by the perpetrator. Battery includes not only contact that causes physical harm, but also contact that is offensive or insulting. For example, spitting in someone’s face is a battery, as is any other contact brought about in a rude and offensive manner.

           Invasion of Privacy – When somebody invades the private space of another person, either in person with their eyes and ears, or with technology like video cameras, microphones, cell phones, or hidden spy equipment. Unfortunately, with new technology widely and cheaply available, this criminal act is becoming more common.

           Trespass – Intentionally interfering with another person’s land, real estate, motor vehicle, or personal belongings. A property owner may bring a civil lawsuit against a trespasser in order to recover damages or receive compensatory relief for injury suffered as a direct result of a trespass.

           Conversion – Similar to any theft crime, it is any act that takes away another person’s ownership rights. This is common when somebody uses another person’s credit or debit cards, or accesses bank accounts online without permission.

           Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress – Extreme and outrageous conduct, carried out intentionally or recklessly to cause someone suffer a severe emotional distress.

           False imprisonment – Unlawful restraint against a person’s will. Often people will find themselves in this situation when anybody other than a police officer demands that you “wait here” or “stay put” and threatens you with violence or other harm if you refuse.

           Fraud – When somebody intentionally uses false, untrue and misleading information to convince another person to take some action that they would not normally do.

Because intentional torts are often accompanied by facts showing evil intent or extremely disturbing behavior on the part of the wrongdoer, injured people may also recover additional compensation for their damages known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded by courts when it is in society’s interest to make an example out of a wrongdoer and discourage others from engaging in similar behavior.

Are Clearwater Intentional Harms Also Handled as Crimes?

Many torts are also crimes. This is not a barrier for individuals seeking compensation in civil court. Even if the wrongdoer is held accountable in criminal court, they can and should also be held accountable within our civil justice system.  At the same time, some wrongdoers may not be convicted or even prosecuted in criminal court, but they can still be held accountable in a civil court.  A civil lawsuit is often the only way plaintiffs ever receive financial compensation for the harm caused to them.

Contact a Clearwater Intentional Tort Lawyer

If you have received an injury that was intentionally caused by another person, it is important to speak to an experienced Clearwater intentional tort attorney.  At the Dolman Law Group, our skilled intentional tort attorneys will investigate your case and protect your rights under Florida law.  Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900