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Understanding the Difference between Florida’s Intentional Torts and Negligence Laws

street3At The Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we represent clients who have been harmed by another. These injuries can arise through an intentional tort or through negligence. While both types of claims allow an injured party to seek compensation, they are very different types of cases. Understanding the distinction between an intentional tort and a negligence claim can be very important in determining your rights and options under Florida law.

When an individual is injured, the damages are typically covered by personal injury law, also known as tort law. Tort laws have been created by both the federal and state governments to protect the rights of injured persons. These laws also hold at-fault parties responsible for their actions. Liability under tort law can arise through intentional acts as well as negligent acts.

Intentional Torts

An intentional tort is a civil wrong resulting from an intentional act of the defendant. Put another way, an intentional tort is an action done on purpose against a person or person’s property. The definition covers a wide range of actions. One example of an intentional tort would be a punch to the face. In that example, the actor intended to cause harm by slamming his or her closed fist into the victim’s face.

In order for a plaintiff to establish liability for an intentional tort, he or she must demonstrate the following elements: i) an act by the defendant – this refers to a volitional act by the defendant; ii) intent – this requires the actor’s goal be to bring about the result of his or her action, or the actor knows with substantial certainty that his or her action would bring about certain consequences; and iii) causation – the action must have been a direct cause of the injury, or have been a substantial factor.

Negligent Acts

Negligence is the failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have used under the same or similar circumstances. Negligent conduct may consist of either an act, or an omission to act when there is a duty to do so. The main factor to consider in determining whether a person’s conduct lacks reasonable care is the foreseeable likelihood that the person’s behavior would result in harm. For example, if a driver speeds excessively and causes an accident, he or she will be liable for any resulting harm because it is foreseeable to a reasonable person that speeding can cause an accident and harm.

In order for a plaintiff to establish liability for negligence, he or she must demonstrate the following elements: i) defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care; ii) defendant breached the duty of care; iii) the defendant’s actions must have been the cause of the plaintiff’s injury, and iii) the plaintiff suffered damages as a direct result of the defendant’s breach.

Robert Dixon is a highly skilled Miami personal injury attorney who has helped numerous Florida clients resolve their personal injury claims. With years of experience, we understand the nuances of this area of law, including determining the most appropriate cause of action in your situation. We will assess the merits of your case and come up with a legal strategy accordingly. To learn more about your legal rights and options, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) for a free, confidential consultation.

More Blog Posts:
Documents Prepared in Anticipation of Litigation Not Discoverable in Florida Premises Liability Case, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, March 9, 2015

Chain Reaction Accidents in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, March 9, 2015

Causation Required for Compensation in Negligence Claims – Schwartz v. Wal-Mart, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, February 26, 2015