What Is an Intentional Tort?

Rutter Mills Law Firm

What Is an Intentional Tort?

Legal Info

The majority of Virginia personal injury lawsuits involve accidents that a negligent party did not intend to cause, but which occurred as a result of carelessness or inattention. A lesser number of cases include intentional torts, in which a party purposely took some action that harmed another individual. Intentional torts may, but do not always, involve simultaneous criminal charges.

The Virginia personal injury lawyers at Rutter Mills represent injured parties in lawsuits involving either intentional or negligent torts. When you have suffered injuries or losses because of another person’s intentional actions, you have the right to recover the full amount of your damages from them.

Does an intentional tort mean that a person intended to harm somebody else?

The “intent” element of this tort refers more specifically to a person’s actions, and not necessarily to their intention to cause harm. For example, a person will be liable for intentional tort damages if they swung their fist– intending to strike another person. The harm is self-evident in this example, but the intentional element is about that person’s purposeful actions. This is a subtle but important distinction that a personal injury attorney will emphasize in a lawsuit, particularly where the defendant argues that they meant no harm to the victim.

What are some examples of intentional torts?

Most intentional torts fall into one of a handful of categories:

  • Assault and battery, which involve a threat of physical contact or the actual striking of a victim.
  • False imprisonment, where the liable party prevents someone else from leaving the premises or restricts the victim’s free movements.
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress, where the liable party’s actions cause the victim to fear for their life or well-being.
  • Fraud, in which a liable party makes false statements to cause the victim to take specific actions to their detriment.
  • Defamation that results in the loss or impairment of a victim’s community standing or reputation.
  • Invasion of privacy, where personal or confidential information about the intentional tort victim is publicized, resulting in harm to the victim.
  • Trespass, where a liable party enters and damages another person’s property.

How do intentional torts differ from crimes?

Prosecutors file criminal charges against individuals who are alleged to have violated specific felony or misdemeanor statutes. In this instance, the state must satisfy a significantly higher standard of proof– and must show beyond a reasonable doubt that a person committed a criminal act. In an intentional tort lawsuit, a plaintiff only has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant committed the intentional actions– described in the plaintiff’s complaint.

For a detailed analysis of this difference as it applies to a specific, intentional tort that might have caused your injuries, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer who has the necessary knowledge and experience.

Call Rutter Mills if You Suffered Injuries as a Result of an Intentional Tort in Virginia

For more than fifty years, the personal injury attorneys at Rutter Mills have helped Virginia residents to recover the largest available damages for their losses and injuries.  We represent intentional tort victims in Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, and everywhere else in Virginia. Please see our website or call our Norfolk offices for a free consultation.

Contact a Rutter Mills attorney to speak about your case today.

By submitting this form, you agree to our Terms & acknowledge our Privacy Policy.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Years Helping Our Clients


Convenient Offices


Team members ready to help.


You don’t have to worry about the bills, just get healthy.

Dave Put His Trust in Us

Don’t Fall For The Insurance Company’s Games

Dave suffered serious injuries in a car accident. The defendant’s insurance company tried to offer him a low amount so Dave called Rutter Mills. We took over dealing with the insurance and got Dave the money he needed to get back on his feet.

They enabled me to be happy in life again.

Get Back On Track

Protecting Your Future

Glenn’s car accident changed his life, but not permanently thanks to the help of his Rutter Mills attorney. When the insurance companies wouldn’t help him, our team fought back and won.

I knew I needed Rutter Mills.

Fighting For What's Right

Getting Justice

On his way home from work at the shipyard, Dan was involved in an accident. He tried to file a claim on his own, but the insurance company wouldn’t give him the money he needed to put his life back on track. Dan knew he needed to call Rutter Mills.

They actually won my case 3 times!

Larena's Win

After her car accident, Larena asked her father, a local stevedore, for his advice on who to call. He recommended Rutter Mills. Her team of car accident experts at Rutter Mills fought back when the insurance companies tried to deny her the money she needed to recuperate from her injuries. We took her case to trial – and won. When the insurance company filed their appeals, we beat them again – two more times! Larena got the money she needed and the justice she deserved.

We’re going to immediately call Rutter Mills. That’s the people I trust with my baby girl.

Who Do You Trust With Your Family?

After a car accident, Jamaree’s first call was to her mom. She was shaken up and scared. Mom told her “We’re calling Rutter Mills. Her next was to Rutter Mills. Her Rutter Mills car accident team helped her get compensation “above & beyond” what she was expecting.

They lifted allot of stress off my shoulders. I recommend them to anybody because they WILL fight for you.

Who Can You Turn To?

Referrals From Friends and Family

After John was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, he turned to the person he trusts most for a recommendation. His wife, a paralegal of 30 years, told him to call Rutter Mills on the advice of the lawyer she worked for.

They really care for you as a person. Words cannot describe what Rutter Mills did for me and for my case.

When You Need Someone In Your Corner

Don’t Go It Alone

When the insurance company tried to get Carol to sign paperwork after her car accident, she knew she needed a lawyer. Carol knew she needed Rutter Mills.

When I called Rutter Mills, I knew it was the right fit. They’re so interested in helping you get justice.

Getting The Justice You Deserve

When Mom Needs Strength

Taryn was in a car accident while she was pregnant. She knew she needed someone in her corner to protect her rights and her family’s future.

There’s attorneys, then there’s Rutter Mills.

We're Here When The Unexpected Happens


A devasting accident changed Levon’s life forever. The physical and emotional toll left him scared and in pain. When the insurance company for the defendant contacted the family, they made an offer that did not even cover the cost of the medication, much less doctors’ bills, and physical therapy. They knew they needed to talk to a serious lawyer. Rutter Mills took care of the negotiation so Levon could focus on healing.

When you’ve got a serious injury, you need a serious lawyer. That’s why we chose Rutter Mills.

Motorcycle Accidents Change Everything

When Ed was injured in a motorcycle crash, he knew he needed a serious lawyer to protect his rights. The insurance companies were fighting him every step of the way. Rutter Mills helped prove Ed’s case and get him the money he needed to get on the road to recovery.

With the seriousness of the accident, I knew that we needed a serious lawyer. I needed Rutter Mills.

Carol & Levon's Story

They knew they needed a serious lawyer when Carol and her son were seriously injured. After the other party’s insurance company tried to get her to settle for less than she needed, Carol called Rutter Mills for help. We took on the insurance company so she could focus on healing.

Watch his 30 second testimonial video
Watch Glenn's 30 second story
Watch Dan's 30 second video
Watch Larena's 30 second story
Watch Jamaree's 30 second video
Watch Levon's 30 second video
Watch Ed's 30 second story
Watch Carl's 30 second video