What is Intentional Conduct?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of J.D. Smith with Law Office of J.D. Smith, PLLC.
Intentional conduct refers to the behavior an at-fault party engages in with the intent to purposely harm someone else. Most personal injury cases, or “torts”, revolve around proving that the at-fault party was negligent, and that their negligence led to the victim’s suffering. However, in regard to intentional torts, the victim must be able to prove that the harm they suffered (physical or otherwise) was caused intentionally by the at-fault party.
Many intentional conduct cases involve criminal behavior, so it is possible that the at-fault party may face both civil and criminal charges. Additionally, the damages which may be compensable in an intentional conduct tort tend to differ from those of a negligence tort. If you have suffered as a result of another party’s intentional conduct, reach out to a personal injury lawyer to learn about your options for recovery.
Common intentional personal injury claims include the following:
- Assault and battery
- Domestic abuse
- Property damage
- False imprisonment
- Wrongful death
- Intentionally inflicting emotional distress
- Intentionally infecting someone with a Sexually Transmitted Disease or Infection (STD or STI)
While cases of intentional conduct often also qualify for a criminal case, whenever someone is physically, financially, or psychologically injured by another party there is the opportunity to file a civil claim in pursuit of compensation.
It is important to note the difference between civil claims involving intentional conduct and criminal cases.
In a civil tort, the injured party can seek to have their damages covered if the at-fault party is considered liable; this does not give the person a criminal record. However, many intentional conduct torts involve criminal behavior, in which case the government takes out a claim against the accused and is decided to be guilty or not guilty. Criminal cases do affect a person’s criminal record and are not focused on damages for the injured party but on a fair punishment for the guilty.
The damages in an intentional conduct tort are wide-ranging.
Damages refer to the expenses a person suffers due to their injuries. In the case of assault and battery, this may include medical bills and lost wages. In the case of defamation, it could include lost wages or reputational damage. In any scenario, damages could include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and more. The latter are considered non-economic damages; it takes an expert to calculate these intangible damages that are just as worthy of receiving compensation.
Intentional conduct torts are more likely to include punitive damages.
Punitive damages are unique, in that they are not common in personal injury cases caused by someone’s negligence. Punitive damages are intended as a form of punishment for the at-fault party; a corrective action to make them think twice about committing the same conduct again. These are far more common in cases of intentional conduct, and can mean a much bigger payout of compensation to the injured party.
To learn more about what qualifies as intentional conduct, or for help filing a claim, reach out to a personal injury lawyer.