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    Making Your Case: Intentional Torts and Negligent Acts

    Tort law is a large area of law that focuses on civil wrongdoings that occur resulting in injuries to people and personal property. Tort law allows for remedies to redress these wrongdoings under a few legal theories. If you are experience an injury or property damage because of an act of another, you are likely able to bring a lawsuit in the appropriate court for damages. The case you present to the court may be based either on an intentional tort theory or a negligence theory. Each theory has a different set of elements that must be proven in order to be successful.


    An intentional tort is an intentional wrongful act or wrongdoing committed against another individual or their property that is aimed to cause harm. There are nine types of intentional torts – assault, battery, conversion (interference) of property, defamation, false imprisonment, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass to land, and trespass to personal property. Each tort has its own set of elements that must be proved in order to be successful, but the main component of each tort is that they all must be intentional.


    A negligent act happens when an individual fails to act appropriately or fails to act at all in certain situations. As a result of this failure, another person or their personal property sustains damages or injuries. The person who fails to act must have a duty to the harmed person that requires them to act in a certain manner. For example, if a person knows that their dog is dangerous and decides to bring it to a park where small children are and it bites a child, that person could be considered negligent.


    Each Theory Brings a Different Outcome


    Determining whether you will sue based on a theory of an intentional tort or on negligence could impact the outcome of your case. Consider, for example, a resident of a condo building who sustained injuries from the condo board president when the resident knocked on the president’s door to confront him about the construction in the parking lot. After knocking on the door, the resident fell down the stairs when the board president came out of his unit in an aggressive manner. The resident suffered two broken wrists and a broken eye socket. If the resident chose to sue on a basis of negligence, she would be able to bring a lawsuit against the condo association. If the case is successful, it is likely that damages caused by the board president would be paid for by the condo’s insurance policy. However, if the resident chooses to sue based on a theory of the intentional tort of battery, she would have to bring a lawsuit against the board president personally because the condo association cannot be held liable for its employee’s intentional torts. Even if the resident’s suit is successful, she may not be able to collect all of the damages from her judgment if the board president is insolvent.


    Tort cases require careful legal analysis of all of the facts surrounding the situation. If you are injured or have personal property damage, it is important to consult a Philadelphia personal injury attorney that can help you get the results you are entitled to.

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