Tort law addresses cases where someone suffers a personal injury caused by another person. Most tort cases involve acts rooted in negligence, but when someone harms you intentionally, you have the right to seek compensation for the physical, financial and emotional damages you suffered.
At Denton & Zachary in Little Rock, Arkansas, an intentional tort lawyer at our firm can help you navigate the legal system, understand your rights and build your claim for damages.
What Are Examples of Intentional Torts?
Any action initiated and executed with the intent to harm someone could be an intentional tort. However, most fall within a category of cases an Arkansas intentional tort lawyer typically handles.
Intentional tort cases we handle
The most common forms of intentional torts are assault and battery. According to Arkansas law, an assault occurs when someone intentionally strikes the fear of immediate harm in the victim and engages in conduct that places them at risk for injury.
Battery happens when their intention turns into action, and they make offensive contact or harmfully touch you. This goes for both physical and sexual abuse.
Other common examples of an intentional tort include:
- False imprisonment: This involves restricting someone’s movement or detaining them against their will.
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress: Intentionally causing mental harm to someone through egregious actions outside what civilized society would tolerate is a type of civil tort.
- Defamation and libel: Making false statements that can harm a person’s reputation is defamation. It is slander in spoken form; in written form, it is libel.
There are more possible scenarios that may result in an intentional tort, and the court recognizes that mental and emotional harm may be just as damaging as physical harm.
Negligence vs. intent
Personal injuries involving negligence do not require proof that the defendant acted intentionally. Instead, the court needs sufficient evidence to show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, that they negligently violated that responsibility and that their negligence directly resulted in the plaintiff’s accident and injuries.
For example, car accidents commonly result from traffic violations, which constitute a duty of care violation. If the other party suffered injuries or property damage in a negligence-based car accident, the defendant’s insurance company would be liable for damages.
Criminal responsibility for an intentional tort
Intentional torts may warrant civil liability and criminal charges simultaneously. For example, assault and battery are crimes. Depending on several factors, some are misdemeanors while others are felonies of varying classifications. If the defendant faces criminal charges, you can still contact our Arkansas intentional tort team to begin building your civil case.
In criminal court, the defendant may face fines and incarceration. They face financial liability in civil court, and the burden of proof is significantly lower for a civil claim.
How Can an Arkansas Intentional Tort Lawyer Help You?
Lawyers who practice tort law work closely with clients, helping them through an emotionally challenging time while building a case to ensure they get the financial support needed to restore their lives or adapt to a new one. Some duties our lawyer may perform for an intentional tort case include:
- Investigating the incident to find evidence proving intention, including talking to eyewitnesses, reviewing the police report and documenting your side of the story
- Identifying the recoverable damages from your case and valuing your non-economic losses
- Representing you in all communications with the defense, including negotiations for a settlement
- Completing all required paperwork to file a civil lawsuit and gathering the documentation needed to present your claim for compensation with it
- Preparing your case for trial, if necessary
Every tort case has unique circumstances that inform how we approach the claim against the person who harmed you. During your initial consultation, you will review the details of your case to better assess the steps you should take together.
Proving an intentional tort
As the plaintiff in a civil case, you are responsible for providing evidence proving that the defendant caused your injury and is liable for the resulting damages. Establishing an intentional tort means you must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions displayed willful engagement with the intent to cause harm. Then you must directly connect their actions with your injuries.
What Damages Can You Recover From an Intentional Tort?
The recoverable damages from an intentional tort case can include economic losses, referring to the financial impact of the incident and your injuries, and non-economic losses, meaning the psychological implications of the case. These are common economic damages from intentional torts:
- The cost of your medical bills, including current and future expenses
- The wages you lost from missed work during your recovery
- The loss of earning capacity if you suffered a severe injury that resulted in permanent disability or lost job opportunities because of defamation
- The cost of household services, such as childcare or in-home assistance, needed to help you during your recovery
Non-economic damages are less apparent. This can include physical pain and suffering you endured because of a bodily injury and treatment. You may also claim emotional distress, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life and mental anguish. Calculating these losses is more complex than totaling your economic damages, but an experienced attorney can ensure you seek adequate compensation.
In some cases, victims of intentional torts may receive punitive damages. The court awards these not to replace losses but to punish the defendant and deter similar wrongdoing in the future. This is more common in intentional tort cases than negligence cases because the perpetrator typically showed malice.
When Should You Contact Our Arkansas Intentional Tort Lawyer?
If someone intentionally harmed you or a loved one, it is never too soon to contact the Arkansas intentional tort lawyers at Denton and Zachary. An experienced intentional tort lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and recover compensation for your losses. We commit to putting your needs first and fighting to protect your rights and hold the at-fault party accountable. Contact Denton & Zachary to schedule your free case evaluation today.