Are Intentional Injuries Treated the Same as Accidental Injuries in Florida?

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What we think of as personal injuries fall under the area of law known as torts. A tort is a wrongful act or the infringement of a right that is not based on a contract or a statute. Torts, then, can be broken down into two different types: intentional and negligent. Most often, when someone thinks of personal injury lawsuits, they are thinking of negligent torts. For example, most car wrecks are usually torts based on a negligence theory. Intentional torts, like assault and battery, are based on intentional conduct, however. This begs the question as to whether the law in Florida treats intentional injuries in the same manner as it does injuries that are caused by negligence.

Negligent Torts

Negligent torts are the most familiar type of tort wherein personal injuries occur. There are numerous types of cases that involve negligence. They include, but are not limited to:

Premises liability;

Negligent hiring;

Toxic torts (where injuries occur when chemicals or dangerous substances are introduced into the environment);

Medical malpractice;

Legal malpractice;

Injury due to automobile, truck or motorcycle accident; and

Product liability.

In Florida, when a case of this sort is brought to court, the case follows Florida’s comparative negligence system. Florida follows a pure comparative system, in fact. Under Florida’s system, even if the other party was only 1% at fault, they are still responsible for paying damages but at only a 1% rate of the damages.

Intentional Torts

There are several intentional torts in Florida, as well. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress;
  • False arrest;
  • Assault and battery;
  • Malicious prosecution;
  • Fraud and misrepresentation; and
  • Trespass.

The glaring difference between these actions and the actions based in negligence is that the party that caused the harm meant to cause the harm. Therefore, when a case of this sort comes to court, different elements have to be proven.

First, an injured party must show that the offending party committed an action. Second, they must prove that the person acted either with the intention that the consequences that transpired would transpire or that they were substantially certain that those consequences would occur. Finally, they must prove that the damages were either caused by the action or the action was a substantial contributor to the injuries.

The other large distinction between intentional and negligent torts is that punitive damages are available to plaintiffs for intentional torts, whereas they are only available in negligence actions where there evidence of gross negligence exists. This has the potential to lead to substantially larger awards in certain cases.

Whether you have suffered an injury because of negligence or through someone’s intentional actions, the fact remains that you have been injured and you have a right to recovery. A seasoned personal injury attorney knows the difference between the two and how to proceed differently in each case. The skilled and experienced attorneys at Fasig & Brooks have decades of experience bringing cases to court for both intentional torts and negligence. If you have been injured in Tallahassee, give us a call at (850) 222-3232 to set up your free consultation today. Put our experience to work for you to help get the results you deserve.