Negligence vs Intentional Wrongs: Understanding the Difference

January 17, 2023 | By Francis Firm Injury Attorneys
Negligence vs Intentional Wrongs: Understanding the Difference

Personal injuries can happen in many ways: a car accident caused by a negligent driver, a workplace injury caused by a dangerous condition, a construction accident through no fault of your own, or even an intentional injury caused by another party who means to inflict harm.

At the heart of personal injury law is the law of torts. A tort is a wrong caused by one party to another and includes both intentional conduct and negligence, which is a form of fault liability for causing a personal injury.

The law of torts applies to many different types of cases. The following are just some examples:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Slip-and-fall injuries
  • Recreational injuries
  • Wrongful death
  • Construction accidents
  • Injuries that occur on someone else’s property

To understand the difference between negligence and intentional wrongdoing, though, we need to first understand the terms themselves.

What is Negligence?

Negligence cases make up the bulk of personal injury lawsuits. Negligence occurs when a party fails to behave in accordance with their duty of care, directly causing damages to another party. In order to prevail on a negligence claim, you’ll need to prove both liability — that the party is directly responsible for the accident — and damages, which are the monetary and personal injuries you have incurred.

The following are just a few examples of cases where negligence may be present and must be proven by the plaintiff in order to recover compensation:

  • Negligent driving by the at-fault party in a car or truck accident
  • Liability of an employer for a dangerous work condition that injures a worker
  • Liability of a property owner for a dangerous condition that injures a guest or customer
  • Being at fault when causing the wrongful death of another person

It’s important to have this understanding as context before discussing intentional wrongdoing, which really comes down to intent.

Negligence vs. Intentional Wrongdoing

The main difference between negligence and intentional torts, or intentional wrongdoing, lies in the intent of the party who has caused the injury. Negligence is fault-based, without the requirement of proving any intent on the part of the defendant. In other words, even if they did not mean to cause an accident, they may still be held liable for the injuries caused.

By contrast, to prove any intentional wrongdoing, you must prove the intent of the defendant to cause harm. One example is battery, which requires the intent to inflict a harmful bodily injury, such as purposefully hitting someone with a car. Both intentional misconduct and negligent or reckless conduct may mean being liable for injuries caused to another person.

The victim’s recourse is to file a claim in civil court, whether for negligence or intentional wrongdoing. They may be able to recover compensation for the expenses they incurred as a result of their injuries, including the cost of medical treatments and doctor’s visits, lost income if they are unable to work, and the value of their pain and suffering.

Do You Need a Lawyer if You’ve Been the Victim of Negligence or Intentional Wrongdoing?

Tort liability is a complex system, often involving several areas of law and a careful need to investigate the facts of any accident or injury thoroughly. Moreover, tort liability often means dealing with large insurance companies, who have significant legal and financial resources at their disposal, and whose goal will be to minimize any payout to the victim.

A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the personal injury claims process and file a lawsuit on your behalf, taking it to trial if necessary. They will also negotiate with the other party and their insurance company, allowing you to focus on your recovery and getting the medical treatment you need to get your life back on track.

Not only will a personal injury lawyer know the law, they will investigate the facts and preserve important evidence in order to present a strong case. They will also accurately assess the value of your damages so that you can aim for a fair and reasonable settlement during negotiations. 

How Can The Francis Firm Help If You’ve Been a Victim of Negligence or Other Wrongdoing?

Whether you’ve been a victim of another party’s negligence or an intentional wrongdoing, under personal injury law, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have suffered. Our experienced personal injury lawyers will inform you of your legal rights and options, and we will work with you to make sure you receive the medical care you need. If the insurance company refuses to offer full value in settlement, our trial-tested Texas personal injury lawyers are always ready to take them to court. Please reach out to us today for a free, no-obligation initial legal consultation online or by calling 817-617-8639. With our office in Southlake, we serve communities throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Tarrant County and Dallas County, and other counties of Texas.