Nevada law allows people to use the courts to seek justice when another person does wrong against them. An essential part of ensuring a successful recovery after injury is knowing what kind of legal action to take. This consideration is especially important when it comes to the difference between willful torts and negligence.
When a person commits an unlawful act that infringes on the security, peace or freedom of another person, it is called a tort. When a person commits a wrong on purpose, it is called an intentional wrong. When a person commits a wrong because they do not act carefully enough, it is called negligence. Here’s what you need to know when comparing willful damage and personal injury negligence .
What is negligence?
When a person does not exercise sufficient care and caution, and their actions result in the injury of another person, they have acted negligently. Negligence is a failure to use reasonable care.
As we go about our business in the world, we have a duty not to act in a way that poses an unreasonable danger to others. When a lapse in that duty results in injury to another person, the negligent person owes the victim for their damages.
There are four essential elements in a negligence claim. The first is that a person finds herself in a situation where she has a duty to act with care. For example, drivers on the roads have an obligation or duty to drive carefully for the safety of everyone else.
The second aspect of a negligence claim is that the person should not act as carefully as they should. Next, this failure must result in loss or injury to another person. Finally, the victim must have physical, emotional or property damages because of what happened.
What is an intentional tort?
An intentional tort occurs when someone acts on purpose. That is, a person intentionally attempts the action that results in their injuries. The battery is considered an intentional tort. When a person hits you on purpose, you can recover your damages. Other examples of willful torts include trespassing, robbery, and false imprisonment.
What is the difference between negligence and an intentional tort?
The main difference between an intentional tort and negligence is that an intentional tort occurs when someone acts on purpose, while negligence occurs when someone is not careful enough. In an intentional wrongful act, an actor may not plan for all the damages that occur, but they intend that their actions result in loss or injury. For example, in the case of assault and battery, they try to hit you.
Most car accidents are considered negligence. Usually another driver doesn’t hit you on purpose. Rather, they make a driving error that leads to an accident, which is negligence. On the other hand, if a person uses a vehicle to hit you or your vehicle intentionally, they have committed intentional damage.
Similarly, if a person throws a ball at you and hits you on the nose, that is an intentional injury. It’s considered a drummer because they threw the ball at you knowing it would probably hit you in the face. If they throw the ball at a wall and it bounces and then hits you in the face, it is an example of negligence.
Intentional acts versus intentional consequences
The jury may assume that a person intends the natural consequences of his actions. That is, if someone hits you, it is not a defense for them to say that they did not want you to be hurt.
If a person steals your car, it is not a defense for them to claim that they did not want you to be without a car when your car was stolen. The question is whether the person intended to take the particular action knowing that the result is likely to occur.
Joint and several liability and the right to contribute
Negligence and willful damages also differ in how defendants have to pay for the damage they cause. For an intentional tort, all responsible defendants must pay the entire claim. This process is unlike a negligence case, where the defendant only has to pay for their share of the damages.
For example, consider that you have been injured in a car accident. Two other drivers negligently contributed to the cause of the accident. One rear ended you and the other did not stop at a stop sign. The jury assigned 25 percent of fault to the driver who stopped him, and 75 percent of responsibility to the driver who did not stop at the stop sign.
In this scenario, the first driver pays 25 percent of your damages, and the other driver pays 75 percent. Even if one of the drivers does not pay the sentence immediately, there is no way to take advantage of the other driver to pay their share. Instead, each driver pays only the damages for which they are directly responsible due to their negligence.
Rather, consider an intentional tort, where you are hit on purpose by two different people and you are injured. In this case, each defendant must pay for all of their damages and then recover from each other for any amount of overpayment. You cannot recover twice. However, both defendants are willing to pay the entire claim, because they acted intentionally. This legal concept is called joint liability .
Defeats and intentional crimes
Many willful torts are also crimes. Assault, battery, and robbery are all crimes. When you have a civil lawsuit against someone for an intentional act, the person may or may not face criminal charges. A state attorney authorizes criminal charges, handles prosecution, and makes decisions about whether to extend a plea offer.
The burden of proof to convict someone of a crime is beyond reasonable doubt. That is a much higher standard than in civil cases. To win a civil case for an intentional tort, you need to prove your case only by a preponderance of the evidence. Also, in most cases, there are more damages available to you in a civil case than are available as part of a criminal proceeding.
Work with a lawyer
If you’ve been injured and are wondering which of these legal concepts applies to your circumstances, schedule a free consultation with an experienced injury attorney today. They can evaluate your case and discuss the different standards and elements that may apply.
A well-qualified personal injury attorney in Las Vegas can help you better understand the nuances between these two legal concepts and which methods would be the best to develop your case. This information can help you obtain justice in the Nevada courts in a way that maximizes your recovery.
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