There are two types of torts: intentional and unintentional, with intentional being the more serious of the two. Intentional torts refer to deliberate acts where the intention was to inflict harm or injury on another person or property. It refers to the act being premediated and not the result of negligence.
The common intentional torts against people or property are:
- Assault or battery or both
- Private nuisance
- False imprisonment
These intentional torts are serious offences and are carried out with knowledge of the potential legal consequences that the action will bring. Creating a distinct dividing line between intent and negligence is important when it comes to compensating the victims.
Unintentional torts means the defendant inflicted harm through negligence. The negligent act could be accidental or attributed to a moment of thoughtlessness, but regardless, the victim of the situation could still receive compensation for any physical, psychological or property damages.
Negligence tends to plays a key, sometimes subtle, role in tort laws. It is essential to prove that negligence was not a factor to receive damages in an intentional tort case. In Ontario, most personal injury claims are unintentional torts.
Intentional Act vs. Unintentional injury?
What if a person knowingly touched or hit a person, even playfully, and this contact led to an injury? The injury, the unintentional consequence of an intended action, could be battery, which is an intentional tort. It does not matter than the result was accidental. The act that caused the injury was wrongful.
Even well-meaning actions that result in injury or personal loss can be legally viewed as intentional torts. Unintentional torts require negligence to have been a determining factor.
Making a Tort Claim
The purpose of tort laws is to compensate a victim and not criminally punish an offender. Therefore, anyone who is injured in an accident, whether intentional or not, could seek damages from the perceived guilty party or parties. The injured party (the plaintiff) must prove whoever inflicted the harm (the defendant) was legally responsible for the injury sustained and the subsequent impact suffered by the plaintiff.
If someone is unsure about whether they have a case, it is best to speak with a trusted personal injury lawyer, who can help sort through the details of a situation.
Tort Law is not Criminal Law
Regardless of whether the tort is intentional or unintentional, the essence of tort law is to seek damages independent of criminal prosecution. If wronged by an act recognized by the criminal code, the defendant can be prosecuted and then sued for damages. Tort law also covers situations of property damage that falls outside of criminal charges, including many cases of vehicle accidents or disputes between neighbours.
Settling Intentional Torts
There isn’t a great difference between settling intentional and unintentional torts. A victim, most often represented by a personal injury lawyer, must know the extent of their physical or psychological damages and have the proper supporting medical documentation in order. They should also keep a record of every expense that they’ve paid with respect to their injuries or property damage. It also falls on a victim’s shoulder to make a strong case for how the actions of the defendant will negatively affect their future and personal life both financially and emotionally. Once all records and documentation is in order, a victim can understand if they have a case and how much damage they can seek.
Partner with a Personal Injury Lawyer
A victim should never have to incur the financial stress caused by an injury due to the actions of another person. If you were injured by another party or parties, then you might have a case. Remember, filing an intentional tort case is a complicated process where one misstep could reduce damages or undermine an entire case.
The dedicated personal injury lawyers at Mackesy Smye in Hamilton can expertly handle any tort case. We take these matters very seriously and will work tirelessly to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
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