Nevada personal injury law includes a subcategory that covers intentional torts, which are wrongful actions that cause harm to others and that are done purposefully. Unlike actions that are the result of negligence, intentional torts must include an element of intent. Many intentional torts may be prosecuted criminally in addition to civil actions that may be filed against the defendants. There are several types of intentional torts, including fraud, assault, battery, conversion, trespassing, and false imprisonment.

What Are Intentional Torts?

Intentional torts are wrongful actions that are committed by people intentionally that result in harm to others. Torts are civil wrongs and may be based on negligence or intentional acts. Negligence actions differ from intentional torts because they do not require the actors to have acted with any type of intent. Intentional torts fall under personal injury law and may be prosecuted as civil actions. These claims may be filed at the same time as criminal actions that are filed against the defendants for the same conduct.

Why File Civil Tort Claims?

People often choose to file personal injury claims even when criminal charges have been filed. Under the criminal law, the prosecution has a very high burden to prove that the defendants committed every element of the offenses with which they are charged beyond a reasonable doubt. This high burden of proof makes it more difficult to prove the guilt of the defendants under the criminal law. As a result, some cases may not be filed by the prosecution, and the defendants may be found not guilty in others.

The burden of proof in civil personal injury claims is lower than what is required in criminal cases. This is because the defendants are not in danger of losing their liberty if they are found to be liable for intentional torts in civil cases. Plaintiffs are required to prove that the defendants committed the intentional torts by a preponderance of the evidence. They must show that it is more likely than not that the defendants committed the wrongful acts.

For intentional tort to be proven, it does not need to be shown that the defendant intentionally caused an injury, only that he or she performed the act on purpose while having knowledge that the action could cause harm to another person.

Since intentional torts and criminal cases fall under two different bodies of law, the cases may be filed and may proceed simultaneously. Injured victims may also file civil claims against the defendants even if no criminal cases are filed or if the defendants are found not guilty in their criminal cases. This may allow the injured victims to hold the defendants accountable for their wrongful actions and to recover damages for the losses that they have suffered as a result.

Types of Intentional Torts

Multiple types of intentional torts are recognized under civil law. The most common types include the following:

  • Conversion
  • Assaults and batteries
  • Slander and libel
  • Trespassing
  • Fraud
  • Intentional emotional distress

Civil intentional tort cases may allow the plaintiffs to recover monetary damages from the defendants who caused them harm regardless of whether they are found guilty in corresponding criminal actions.

Damages in Intentional Tort Cases

In personal injury claims involving intentional torts, the injured victims might be able to recover compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages include special damages and general damages.

Special damages are losses that are quantifiable and include such things as the past and future expected medical expenses, income losses, the reduced earnings capacity, and property losses. General damages are damages that are noneconomic and might include more intangible losses such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and others. The specific types of damages that might be available will depend on the type of case, the severity of the injuries, and the likelihood of the victims to fully recover.

Punitive damages are damages that are not meant to compensate the victim for losses. Instead, these are additional amounts that are awarded to punish the defendants and to deter them from engaging in similar conduct in the future. While punitive damages are rare in negligence actions, they may be easier to recover in intentional tort cases especially if the defendants acted in an egregious manner.

The compensation totals that people might recover will depend on the facts and circumstances of their cases, and there is not a set amount that people can expect to receive. The potential claims can be valued so that the victims might have an idea of the expected range within which a fair settlement might be expected to fall. Intentional tort claims may help to ensure that defendants are held accountable regardless of what happens in their criminal cases.