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Intentional Tort

tort is conduct that results in injury or wrongful death to another person. Tort law includes negligent acts and intentional torts. An injured party can pursue a civil action against the person who caused them harm to recover compensation for injuries, emotional distress, and financial losses. 

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Criminal Cases vs. Civil Cases for Intentional Torts

Intentional acts that cause injury can result in criminal charges. For example, California Penal Code §646.9 defines the criminal offense of stalking as maliciously, willfully, and repeatedly following or harassing someone with the intent of placing that person in reasonable fear of their safety or the safety of an immediate family member.

California Civil Code §1708.7 states the legal elements of a tort claim for stalking. If you prove all elements required by statute, you could recover compensation for general, special, and punitive damages

Therefore, a person committing the crime of stalking could be convicted and sentenced to criminal penalties. Additionally, the person could be sued in civil court by the victim and be held financially liable for damages for a civil wrong they committed. 

The two cases arise from the same event, but the cases are separate and apart. Tort cases are not dependent upon the outcome of a criminal case. You could win a civil case for stalking even if the person is acquitted of a crime, the criminal charges are dismissed, or the prosecutor refuses to pursue a criminal case.

Types of Intentional Tort Cases in Los Angeles

Intentional tort personal injury cases involve several types of intentional acts. Common intentional tort cases include:


Assault is a common intentional tort, including sexual assault. Under California law, the person does not actually have to touch the person to commit assault. The unlawful attempt, together with the ability to commit a violent injury against another person, counts as assault. 


A person commits battery when they willfully and unlawfully use force or violence against another person. 

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

A person could be liable for infliction of emotional distress if their conduct is extreme and outrageous and they intended to cause emotional distress by engaging in the conduct. Acting with reckless disregard, knowing that the conduct could cause a person who is present emotional distress can also result in a civil case.

False Imprisonment

California defines false imprisonment as the unlawful violation of another individual’s personal liberty. For a civil case, the person must have unlawfully and intentionally detailed, confined, or restrained the person against the person’s will.

The imprisonment may occur through physical restraints or confinement. Any unlawful detainment could be false imprisonment. 

Trespass to Land

Intentionally entering another person’s land without permission or the legal right to do so. When a person intentionally trespasses, destroys, or harms personal property, the person can be sued under civil tort law.

Recovering Compensation for Intentional Torts in California

The compensation you can receive for an intentional tort depends on the facts of the case. However, most individuals can receive reimbursement for their economic damages. Examples of economic damages include:

  • The cost of medical care and future medical bills for permanent conditions
  • In-home and/or long-term nursing care
  • Physical, occupational, and other types of therapies 
  • Past and future loss of income and diminished earning capacity
  • Personal care and help with household chores
  • Out-of-pocket expenses and costs

In addition to financial losses, an injured party could experience pain and suffering because of intentional torts. Therefore, they can recover compensation for non-economic damages, including:

  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Disabilities and permanent impairments
  • Physical pain 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement 
  • Diminished quality of life

In some cases, a person could be entitled to exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages. These damages do not compensate the injured party for damages. Instead, punitive damages “punish” a defendant for “malice, fraud, or oppression.” 

Malice is defined as conduct intended to injure a person. It is also willfully “despicable conduct” by the defendant with a conscious disregard for the safety and rights of others. 

Oppression is defined as “despicable conduct” that causes a person an unjust and cruel hardship with a conscious disregard for that person’s rights. Fraud is the intentional concealment, deceit, or misrepresentation of a material fact that deprives a person of property, legal rights, or otherwise causes injury.

The burden of proof for punitive damages is higher than for compensatory damages. Our legal team analyzes your case to determine the types of damages you could receive for your personal injury claim

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Personal Injury Lawyers

You deserve to be compensated for your damages, regardless of whether someone intentionally or negligently injured you. Call our law firm at (877) 300-4535 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys of M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers. Our legal team aggressively pursues personal injury claims for maximum compensation for our clients.