When someone intentionally harms or injures you, they may be guilty of committing a crime. However, intentional harm may also allow you to seek compensation through a civil court action. Victims can seek damages from the individual who intentionally caused physical or mental harm, including seeking punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer.
Most personal injury lawsuits are caused by negligent accidents that resulted in someone getting hurt. For example, a puddle of water on the grocery store floor could be dangerous for customers who may slip and fall. The store may be acting negligently if they do not take steps to clean up the spill or warn customers. If customer slipped and hit their head, the store may be responsible for the damages caused by their negligence. The store may not have wanted to hurt someone, but they owed a duty of care to the customer not to leave a dangerous situation in the middle of their store without cleaning it up or warning the customers. This is not an intentional harm but instead an example of negligence.
Intentional harms, or “torts,” are caused by intentional actions instead of negligence. The most common types of intentional torts include:
- False Imprisonment
- Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
These actions can also be treated as criminal actions. However, there are some differences between a criminal prosecution and a civil lawsuit for damages. In a criminal prosecution, the plaintiff is the government. In a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff is the person claiming they were harmed by the defendant. The penalties for a criminal conviction generally include jail or fines. In a civil lawsuit, an injured plaintiff can seek medical costs, lost wages, non-economic damages, and even punitive damages.
Additionally, the burden of proof is lower for civil lawsuits than for criminal cases. This means that even if the defendant is found ‘not guilty' in a criminal case, the plaintiff can still win a civil case against the defendant. If you have any questions about whether you have a civil claim, talk to your experienced Maryland personal injury attorney about your case. They will advise you of your options, and get you compensation for your injuries.
Intentional Harm Causes of Action
Assault and battery are some of the most common intentional torts. Assault involves threatening another person and putting them in fear of being physically harmed. A battery is the intentional, harmful or offensive contact of another person. If another person hits you, offensively touches you, or threatens to harm you, they may have committed assault or battery. If you were harmed as a result, either physically or mentally, then you may have a claim for damages against the perpetrator.
Restraining someone without justification may be considered false imprisonment. This could involve a domestic dispute where one person does not want the other person to leave, blocking the door. It could also involve a security guard wrongfully detaining someone and accusing them of shoplifting. Keeping someone captive can result in physical and mental harm. If you were falsely imprisoned, you may have a claim for an intentional tort.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress and slander or libel may also lead to physical or emotional harm. The injured party may have a claim for damages against someone who caused the harm. Talk to your Maryland personal injury attorney to see if you may have a claim for damages for the harm you've suffered.
Punitive Damages for Intentional Injuries
Most personal injury lawsuits are limited to economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include the costs of medical treatment for your injuries, lost wages, and any future loss of income. Non-economic damages may include loss of support, or pain and suffering. However, damages for intentional harm may also include punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer for their actions and act as a deterrent from committing similar actions in the future. Depending on the nature of the injury, punitive damages can be significant.
Legal Claims for Injuries Due to Intentional Actions
If you were injured due to the intentional actions of another person, you may have a claim for damages. The individual responsible for causing your injuries, harm, and distress should be held responsible for their actions. A personal injury claim can compensate you for your injuries and help to make sure others don't suffer similar pain and distress in the future. Your personal injury attorney will help guide you through the legal process and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.