How Do Intentional and Negligent Torts Differ?

There are several factors that can influence personal injury proceedings. Your personal injury attorney will inform you that one such factor is whether the claim is filed on the basis of negligence or intentional wrongdoing.

Intentional torts involve purposeful wrongdoing while negligent torts involve a defendant’s breach of the duty of care owed to the claimant (or to the decedent in the case of wrongful death). Read on to learn more about the differences between these two kinds of torts, explained by a personal injury attorney:

What Are Negligent Torts?

Most personal injury claims are filed on the basis of negligence, which refers to conduct that falls below the reasonable standard of care given the circumstances. When a reckless driver violates a law and causes an accident that results in property damage, injury, or death to another person, it would be considered a negligent tort. Negligence is also the basis of most claims involving medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, and nursing home neglect.

To win a claim on the grounds of negligence, you must prove the following four elements:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care;
  • The defendant breached this duty;
  • The breach was directly responsible for the injuries you sustained; and
  • You incurred damages as a result.

In the state of Florida, injured parties who file a claim on the basis of ordinary negligence may be entitled to the following damages:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Home care;
  • Lost wages;
  • Lost benefits;
  • Loss of future earnings;
  • Domestic help;
  • Child care;
  • Loss of enjoyment in life;
  • Emotional distress; and
  • Pain and suffering.

If the defendant’s conduct constituted gross negligence, the plaintiff may also be entitled to a punitive award. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for egregious behavior and to prevent similar transgressions from taking place in the future.

What Are Intentional Torts?

An intentional tort involves a purposeful act like battery, theft, trespassing, false imprisonment, libel, or slander. As you might suspect, you must prove intent to win a personal injury claim on the grounds of intentional misconduct. You can do this by demonstrating how the defendant knew their actions had a high probability of causing harm.

Your personal injury attorney will inform you that compensatory damages are available in cases involving intentional torts, as are punitive damages, which tend to be more common in these kinds of claims. If you can prove that the defendant acted with intent to harm, the cap that usually applies to punitive damages may be waived.

What Is Strict Liability?

Strict liability means a finding of negligence or intent is not needed to impose liability. In Florida, strict liability most commonly applies to cases involving defective products and dog bites.

Call 772-266-5555 for a Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney in Florida

If you were hurt at the hands of someone else, contact a personal injury attorney at Donaldson & Weston. Whether your case involves an intentional or negligent tort, we have the resources to gather the evidence needed to prove liability and the value of your damages. Call 772-266-5555 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Florida.