Many personal injury claims are based on negligence. However, some injuries may be the result of purposeful acts. If so, the personal injury claim is based on intentional torts. 

What Are Intentional Torts for a Personal Injury Case in Phoenix, AZ?

What Are Intentional Torts for a Personal Injury Case in Phoenix, AZ?

A tort is conduct that causes someone to be injured. An intentional tort is conduct that someone does on purpose with the intent of causing harm or injury to someone.

Examples of intentional torts include, but are not limited to:

  • Assault
  • Fraud
  • Battery
  • Trespassing
  • False imprisonment
  • Infliction of emotional distress
  • Defamation

The injured party has the burden of proving intentional torts to recover compensation for damages. Proving intentional torts requires you to have evidence establishing the following:

  • The party who caused your injury acted purposefully to cause you injury or harm
  • You did not consent to the party’s conduct or actions
  • The party’s conduct was the direct and proximate cause of your injuries
  • You incurred damages because of the intentional tort

You do not need to prove that the party was negligent. Negligence is failing to take reasonable care to avoid causing an injury. Therefore, a person can be personally liable for damages even though they did not intend to cause someone harm under negligence. However, if you file a claim based on intentional torts, you must prove their willful intent before you can recover damages.

Are Intentional Torts a Crime in Arizona?

In some cases, an intentional tort will result in criminal charges. For example, assault is a crime in Arizona. Assault is:

  • Intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly causing injury to someone
  • Intentionally causing another person to fear imminent bodily injury
  • Knowingly touching someone with the intent to provoke, insult, or injure someone

Depending on the facts of the case, assault can be charged as misdemeanor assault or aggravated assault (felony assault). Likewise, trespassing can result in criminal charges in Arizona as can false imprisonment.

Criminal charges for intentional torts are separate from any civil cause of action the victim might have against the person who caused their injuries. Criminal cases are tried in criminal court and can result in various penalties, including jail and fines. Conversely, civil lawsuits are tried in civil court and can result in economic and non-economic damages for the victim.

Furthermore, a prosecutor pursues criminal charges against someone on behalf of the government. However, in an intentional tort injury case, the injured party files a lawsuit against the person who caused their injury. The injured party is the plaintiff, and the at-fault party is the defendant.

The burden of proof in a civil case involving intentional torts is lower than that in a criminal case. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the charges.

However, the burden of proof in a civil matter is by a preponderance of the evidence. To win an intentional tort injury case, you only need to prove that the facts prove your case by a greater than 50% chance.

What Damages Can I Receive for an Intentional Tort Case in Phoenix, AZ?

Injured victims can receive compensation for their non-economic and economic damages. Examples of damages for an intentional tort claim include:

The amount you receive depends on the circumstances of your case. For example, being partially to blame for causing your injuries could reduce the amount you receive for damages. However, catastrophic injuries can increase the value of damages.

Contributory Fault and Intentional Tort Claims in Arizona

Insurance companies often try to blame the victim in personal injury cases to avoid paying the full value of the damages. The reason is that Arizona has a pure comparative fault standard for apportioning damages in a personal injury case.

Contributory fault states that a victim’s damages can be reduced or barred if the person is partially to blame for causing their injuries. Arizona uses a comparative negligence standard, which doesn’t bar victims from getting damages but does potentially reduce them. 

Under this framework, if the victim is partially to blame, their damages are reduced by their level of fault. Therefore, if a jury determines you were 20% to blame for your injuries, your compensation for damages is reduced by 20 percent.

If the insurance company or another party tries to blame you for your injuries, call a Phoenix personal injury lawyer immediately. An excellent way to protect yourself from this tactic is to allow an attorney to handle your claim and all communications with the insurance company and other parties.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Intentional Tort Claims in Arizona?

Generally, the statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims in Arizona is two years from the injury date. However, there could be exceptions that change the date.

Therefore, it is best to contact a Phoenix personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury. Attorneys offer free consultations. You can obtain legal advice about an intentional tort claim and learn how long you have to file a claim before losing your rights. If you would like more information, please contact the lawyers at Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation, you can reach us at (602) 595-5559.