Intentional Torts: Frequently Asked Questions

Intentional Torts are a lesser understood area of our Personal Injury practice.  Here are five of the most common questions we get from our clients when it comes to torts in general and Intentional Torts in Florida in particular:

Q: What is a tort?

A: A tort is an action or failure to act that causes harm to another party.  Torts can fall into three categories.  The first is negligence where the party committing the tort does so by failing in a duty to protect or take reasonable care.  A second type of tort is that of strict liability, where the party committing the tort was neither negligent nor intended to commit the tort but still is liable as the law assigns them liability in certain cases.  Finally there are intentional torts, where the party that commits the tort does so on purpose.

Q: What types of intentional torts are there?

A: The State of Florida recognizes seven types of intentional torts for legal purposes.  These are assault, battery, conversion, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass to chattels and trespass to land.  In practical terms, this means that provable torts may include physical attacks, theft, kidnap, harassment, break-ins and other similar offenses.

Q: How are Intentional torts different from crimes?

A: Victims of torts take civil actions versus defendants, whereas prosecutors take criminal action versus defendants in the case of crimes.  Most actions that make up torts can also be crimes. These crimes may be tried as such separately in the criminal courts and separately in the civil courts as torts.  There are other important distinctions between torts and crimes. The burden of proof for a tort is lower than that of a crime.  A “preponderance” of evidence is required to show that a tort has occurred and that the defendant has committed the tort. If such evidence is shows that the defendant more like than not committed the tort then a financial fine or some civil restrictions are imposed on the defendant. On the other hand, crimes must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt – a much higher burden of proof. In Florida’s criminal courts,  judges can sentence guilty defendants to prison or death if they are found guilty of crimes. In criminal courts, those found guilty also have many of their civil rights such as right to vote or bear arms taken away from them indefinitely.

“The burden of proof for a tort is lower than that of a crime.”  

Q: How do you take legal action for an Intentional Tort?

A: In Florida, it is highly recommended that you hire an experienced attorney to bring a legal action against a person or organization for an intentional tort.  Your attorney will prove that the act was intentional and that it actually happened.  Furthermore, your attorney will show that you were harmed in the tort and that damages were significant enough to seek legal action.  At South Florida Law, our personal injury attorney Jared Newman will analyze your case in a free consultation.  If you have a case, we will represent you at no cost until you win your case.  When representing plaintiffs we have a contingency fee policy, which means no-win-no-fee. If you don’t win your case, it won’t cost you a dime.

Q: How do you defend against an Intentional Tort petition?

A: Defending against a tort is a complex legal task.  Therefore, the first step is to retain an experienced legal counsel to fight in your corner.  Your attorney must prove that the tort did not occur, that it was not intentional and/or that the petitioner consented to the tort.  In some cases, a proven claim of self-defense can successfully defend you from being liable for a tort.  A successful defense against an intentional tort action can protect you from having to pay potentially large sums of money to the petitioner. Likewise, you may be able to recover your legal costs if the court considers the intentional tort case to be spurious.

Whether you have been wronged in an intentional tort or falsely accused of a tort it is essential that you get the legal representation you deserve.   Call the South Florida Law offices of Jared K Newman today on (954) 900-8885 or click here to upload your evidence via our contact form.

Jared Newman, Esq. is a seasoned attorney at South Florida Law, with an emphasis in Personal Injury Law. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology from the University of Florida. Mr. Newman attended and received his Juris Doctorate from the South Houston College of Law.

Mr. Newman understands insurance companies tactics and has the experience to counter them. This background allows South Florida law to fight smart against the Big Insurance Companies. If necessary, we are prepared to meet insurance companies in court and recover the compensation you deserve.