Intentional TortClick For Your Free Consulation
An intentional tort is a deliberate act of misconduct that harms someone, either physically, emotionally, or financially.
Although a tort is not the same as a crime, many intentional torts are also crimes.
The victim of an intentional tort can file a claim against the perpetrator seeking monetary damages.
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Following are some examples of common intentional torts:
The foregoing is not an exhaustive list of all possible intentional torts.
“Damages” means compensation for your losses. New York recongizes three kinds of damages: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are easy to count damages such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and out-of-pocket expenses arising directly from the tort.
Non-economic damages are intangible damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, humuliation, and similar losses. Courts place concrete dollar values on these losses every day.
Courts award punitive damages when the defendant’s behavior was so outrageous that the court wants to punish the defendant, not only to compensate you. The court will add punitive damages to your economic and non-economic damages.
Courts are normally reluctant to award punitive damages. They are more willing to do so, however, when the defendant acts intentionally.
Many intentional torts are also crimes. Punching someone in the face (without justification) is both an intentional tort and a crime. So is pointing a gun in someone’s face, even if you don’t pull the trigger.
The main differences between an intentional tort and a crime are the venue, who initiates the claim, and the standard of proof.
Inconsistent results are not uncommon. A defendant might be found not guilty of murder, for example, but still lose a wrongful death lawsuit over the death of the same person. Criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits are two completely separate proceedings.
Closely examine the following three standards of proof that courts apply, depending on what is at stake.
“Beyond a reasonable doubt” doesn’t mean “beyond a shadow of a doubt.” It does mean enough evidence that no reasonable person would seriously doubt the defendant’s guilt. This standard is used exclusively in criminal cases.
A preponderance of the evidence is enough evidence to convince the ourt that your version of events is at least slightly more than 50% likely to be true. In other words, your evidence outweighs the defendant’s evidence, no matter how slightly. A preponderance of the evidence is the standard you need to win a personal injury lawsuit.
“Clear and convincing evidence” is a standard of proof that demands more than “a preponderance of the evidence”, but less than “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In personal injury law, it is normally used only when a plaintiff asserts a claim for punitive damages. Criminal trials do not use this standard.
Insurance pays a significant portion of negligence claims. Unfortunately, very few insurance policies will pay out over an intentional tort. What you can do in many instances, however, is sue an institution responsible for supervising the perpetrator for the tort of negligent supervision. There are also other workarounds that can result in generous settlements.
Proving an intentional tort can be difficult, especially if you are seeking punitive damages. It can also be difficult to identify a defendant who can afford to pay. Nevertheless, a skilled New York City personal injury lawyer at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers might very well find a way for you to walk away with a tidy sum in your pocket, even after paying legal fees, contact us today at (212) 564 2800.
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