A Brief Primer on Intentional Torts

In the realm of personal injury law, the kinds of cases we see most often are those in which someone has committed a negligent act that caused someone else harm. In most cases, the perpetrator of the harm did not intend to cause the harm to the victim but was acting in a way that made them legally liable for the harm. For example, very few people intentionally try to crash their cars into other vehicles, but car accidents are often the result of a lapse of judgment on the driver’s part. If that lapse of judgment rises to the level of negligence—for example, they were texting and driving and not paying attention to where they were going—then it can expose the person to liability.

While most people do not intend to harm others with their actions, there are some cases where that is exactly the perpetrator’s intent. These types of actions are called intentional torts. Below, we’ll take a look at a few different types of intentional torts.

Assault and Battery

The precise definition of assault varies from state to state, but it most often includes behaviors ranging from threatening others to active attempts to harm people. The definition of battery also varies by jurisdiction, but usually involves some kind of harmful touching of another person without their consent. While both assault and battery are often handled as criminal matters, a person who commits either also exposes themselves to civil liability from the person they commit them against.

False Imprisonment

A person commits false imprisonment when he or she commits an act of restraint on another person that confines the person to a bounded area. This confinement must be willful on the part of the perpetrator and must be done without legal authority and without the person’s consent. A “bounded area” can include both physical barriers (such as locked doors) or the use of physical force to restrain a person.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

It might seem strange that there is a cause of action based solely on emotional, rather than physical, distress, but intentional infliction of emotional distress is more than just taunting or name-calling. It is behavior that is so humiliating, embarrassing, or frightening that it creates severe psychological trauma in the victim. In Georgia, it requires the plaintiff to prove four elements: (1) the conduct was intentional or reckless, (2) the conduct was extreme and outrageous, (3) the conduct caused emotional distress, and (4) the emotional distress was severe.


Trespassing occurs when a person knowingly enters someone else’s property without the property owner’s permission. In civil actions for trespassing, a property owner may bring a  suit against a trespasser in order to recover damages or receive compensatory relief for injury suffered as a direct result of the trespass.In these types of actions, the plaintiff must show that the offender had a legal duty to respect his property, but knowingly violated that duty, which resulted in direct injury or loss to the plaintiff.

Contact an Atlanta Assault and Battery Attorney

If you have been injured by someone else’s intentional action, you may be able to recover for your injuries in the form of an intentional tort claim. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Lawrenceville, Norcross, and Fort Benning.

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