Intentional Tort Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Intentional Tort, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Intentional Tort?

An intentionally harmful act that causes injury to someone else.

History and Meaning of Intentional Tort

An intentional tort, in legal terms, refers to a civil wrong where the defendant causes harm or injury to the plaintiff intentionally. This type of tort is covered by civil laws, and examples can include acts of assault, battery, false imprisonment, or intentional infliction of emotional distress. The intention to cause harm can be either direct, which involves the defendant's purposeful act or indirect, where the defendant knew or should have known that the injurious consequences would occur.

Examples of Intentional Tort

  1. A person physically attacks another person without provocation, causing harm to the victim. This would be considered an assault and battery.
  2. A store falsely imprisons a customer in a security office for suspicion of theft when there is no evidence of wrongdoing. This would be considered false imprisonment.
  3. An employer intentionally conducts an extensive and public smear campaign against an employee damaging their reputation and causing emotional distress. This would be considered intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Legal Terms Similar to Intentional Tort

  1. Negligent tort: A type of civil wrong where the injury or harm is a result of the defendant's negligence.
  2. Strict liability tort: A legal doctrine where the defendant can be held liable for the damage or harm caused regardless of fault or intent.
  3. Intentional interference: A civil wrong where the defendant intentionally interferes with the contractual or business relationship between the plaintiff and a third party.