One classification of personal injury lawsuits is called “intentional wrongdoing.”
Cases of negligence deal with the breakdown of civil laws –such as the unintended consequences of traffic violations. On the other hand, intentional wrongdoing is an umbrella term for cases involving a deliberate step beyond negligence.
Common types of intentional wrongdoing that result in lawsuits are acts of: (1) assault, (2) battery, (3) false imprisonment, and (4) intention infliction of emotional distress.
Assault and battery are often confused due to similarities in their definition. Both involve harmful or offensive contact, but battery involves actual contact without consent. For instance, threatening to do harm against another individual with a weapon is by definition an assault. The threat goes a step farther and becomes battery when a weapon makes contact with the victim; in this instance, a lawsuit of both assault and battery may be pursued. It’s important to note that use of the weapon without physical contact, such as throwing an object unsuccessfully, is not battery.
False imprisonment is less common than both assault and battery. Due to the rights of individuals who have reasonable suspicions of foul play, not all detainments are defined as false imprisonment. Detainment by police with probable cause, or a store clerk’s detainment of a suspected shoplifter, does not constitute false imprisonment. On the other hand, hostage situations and detainment of defaulting tenants by a landlord are both false imprisonment situations.
Intention infliction of emotional distress, the last in this category, refers to the psychological damage caused from an assault. While assaults are classified as imminent threats, emotional or mental distress does not have to be tied to an actual threat.
Take, for instance, a defendant who intentionally lies to the plaintiff. Overwhelming emotional distress can result from the belief a child or family member has died in an accident. While the defendant’s motives for the lie may be varied, the result is the same for the plaintiff: emotional distress, which can often lead to frantic or harmful reactions by the plaintiff. In this case, the threat was not imminent and the child was not in immediate harm from the lie, but the psychological damage occurred nonetheless.
Intentional wrongdoing cases must establish the following four criteria: (1) the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly; (2) the defendant’s conduct was extreme and outrageous; and (3) the conduct was the cause (4) of severe emotional or mental distress.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of intentional wrongdoing, it may be advisable to seek council with a personal injury attorney. An act of assault can happen again, and next time it may move to the extreme case of battery. Peace of mind and security from harm are in your best interest-both physically and emotionally.