FAQ: What are Intentional Wrongs?

A tort that occurs when someone intentionally hurts another person. While such actions may result in criminal charges, they can also lead to a CIVIL personal injury lawsuit.

The most common Intentional Wrongs in Texas are:

  • Battery
  • Assault
  • Trespass to Land
  • False Imprisonment
  • Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
  • Trespass to Chattels
  • Conversion
  • Defamation

There are several forms of liability with Intentional Wrongs, including:

Tortfeasor Liability
The plaintiff sues the specific person who commits the harmful act. This is the liability used in most Intentional Wrong lawsuits. If the plaintiff cannot prove intent, the case may be dismissed, or the defendant may be deemed negligent.

Transferred Intent
In these case, the defendant did not intend to injure the plaintiff, but still engaged in a harmful act. For instance, perhaps a driver while engulfed in road rage, swerves his car at someone who cut him off. He loses control, and causes an accident injuring people not involved in the proceeding incident. These injured persons might claim an Intentional Wrong under transferred intent.

Vicarious Liability
This allows a plaintiff to sue the employer of someone who causes harm, within the scope of their employment. And under Texas law, in certain situations, a parent can be held liable for torts caused by their minor children.

Generally, injuries from intentional wrongs are not covered by the defendant’s insurance. Any awards given to the plaintiff will have to come out of the defendant’s own pockets.

Punitive damages are more likely to be awarded for intentional wrongs than they are for negligence claims. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 30% of intentional wrong lawsuits result in punitive damages, while only 1% of negligence cases do so.

As the burden of proof is different in civil cases than it is in criminal cases, it’s possible to have different verdicts in the same action. For instance, OJ Simpson was found not guilty in October 1995 during the criminal trial for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. But a 1997 civil trial found him liable of intentional wrongs in their deaths.