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Comparing Intentional Torts and Negligence in Personal Injury

Comparing Intentional Torts and Negligence in Personal Injury

Florida personal injury laws give victims several causes of action to seek compensation for their injuries and damages. They can file claims with the at-fault party’s liability insurance company. Victims can also file personal injury lawsuits against the party who caused their injuries.

When you sue someone for personal injury, you must prove the legal elements to establish liability. There are several legal claims to establish liability, including intentional torts and negligence

Comparing intentional torts and negligence in personal injury cases in Florida can help you understand what you must prove to win your case.

Negligence-Based Personal Injury Claims in Florida

Negligence is among the most common causes of action for personal injury cases. When a party fails to exercise reasonable care, and their actions result in someone else’s injuries, the party could be negligent.

The legal elements of negligence are:

  • Duty of care – The duty of care requires a party to act with care and prudence. The standard of care used in a specific situation varies.
  • Breach of Duty – Actions or omissions by a party that does not meet the required standard of care.
  • Causation – The direct and proximate link between the party’s breach of duty and the injury to someone else.
  • Damages – The physical, emotional, and financial harm the victim sustains because of the party’s breach of duty.

The “reasonableness” required for a specific situation is based on the reasonable person standard: what a reasonably prudent person would have done under the same circumstances. If the party fails to meet that standard and their failure caused the victim’s injuries, they can be liable for the damages caused by their actions.

Personal Injury Cases Based on Intentional Torts

An intentional tort involves acting on purpose. Someone purposefully intends to engage in the conduct that results in an injury to another person. That is the primary difference between an intentional tort and negligence.

Negligence occurs when someone is not careful enough under the circumstances, resulting in injury. An intentional tort is conduct that is committed on purpose, regardless of whether the party intended their actions to cause injuries.

Examples of intentional torts include assault and battery, false imprisonment, trespass, and defamation.

On the other hand, most slip and fall accidents are based on negligence. The property owner did not intentionally cause you to fall. However, if they pushed you or intentionally created a hazard to cause you to fall, it would become an intentional tort instead of negligence.

Compensation Available in Florida Personal Injury Cases Based on Intentional Torts and Negligence

You can recover the same types of compensation for intentional torts and negligence claims. Florida personal injury laws provide for compensatory damages. 

Those damages include economic damages such as:

You can also recover non-economic damages, including:

Punitive damages are awarded in some Florida personal injury lawsuits. However, only a few cases justify punitive damages. The injured party must prove that the defendant acted with intentional misconduct or gross negligence.

Therefore, if you prove an intentional tort, the jury may find that punitive damages are justified. However, gross negligence could be more challenging to establish. You must prove that the at-fault party’s conduct was so lacking in care or reckless that it rose to the level of a conscious disregard or indifference for the safety of others.

The proof required for compensatory damages is the same in both intentional torts and negligence-based personal injury cases. You must prove by a preponderance of the evidence all legal elements to establish your claim.

However, punitive damages require a higher level of proof in both types of cases. You must prove gross negligence or intentional misconduct by clear and convincing evidence. A slightly higher level of proof for punitive damages is required because the jury is “punishing” the at-fault party for their conduct.

Statute of Limitations for Intentional Tort and Negligence Claims in Florida

The statute of limitations for negligence-based personal injury claims changed on March 24, 2023. Florida changed it from four years to two years.

However, the statute of limitations for many non-negligence claims stayed the same. Therefore, the deadline to file a lawsuit for an intentional tort is typically four years.

The statute of limitations is a deadline to file a lawsuit. The court may dismiss your case if you miss the deadline, meaning you lose your right to pursue a claim in court. Because some exceptions could change the deadline, it is best to speak with a Miami personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury or accident.

What Evidence Is Used to Prove Intentional Torts and Negligence in Personal Injury Cases?

The injured party has the burden of proof in a personal injury case. Therefore, they must have sufficient evidence to convince a jury that the other party caused their injuries.

Evidence used in intentional tort and negligence-based claims include:

  • Accident reports and police reports
  • Photographs of the accident scene
  • A video of the accident or incident happening
  • Physical evidence from the scene
  • Statements from the parties involved
  • Opinions and testimony from expert witnesses
  • Testimony from eyewitnesses

The strength of your evidence is a critical factor in determining how much your personal injury case is worth. A personal injury lawyer will investigate your claim to gather evidence and build a solid case. They will also help you document damages to support a demand for the maximum compensation available.

Do You Have Questions About a Personal Injury Claim in Miami, FL?

The best way to know whether you have an intentional tort or negligence claim for damages is to speak with an attorney. Miami personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. You can learn more about the claims process and what your next steps should be for your personal injury case. 

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Miami, FL

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Miami, FL and need legal help, contact our Miami personal injury lawyers at Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.

Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers
20900 NE 30th Ave Suite 715
Aventura, FL 33180
(305) 937-0191