What Are My Rights if Someone Intentionally Injures Me?

We’ve discussed many forms of personal injury through the years in this blog. Most of the time, the injuries and resulting liability are based on theories of negligence.

For example, when automobile or semi-truck drivers crash because they are distracted or otherwise behaving unsafely, they can be held responsible for their negligent actions. Similarly, when medical care providers fail to meet the applicable standard of care, they can be held liable for the injuries they cause under a theory of medical malpractice.

In the same vein, dog owners can be held responsible when their negligence results in their animals causing injuries to another person. We’ve also discussed how nursing homes and daycare facilities can be held responsible when their negligence results in harm to someone for whom they are caring.

These are only a few examples of the many ways that the law will hold wrongdoers responsible for their negligent actions.

But what about those occasions when someone intentionally acts wrongfully? We’ll discuss that issue in this article and provide several examples of intentional wrongful conduct.

What if the Conduct Is Criminal?

There are many intentional behaviors that initially bring to mind criminal consequences. For example, we read horrible stories about people assaulting one another with a variety of weapons, or even with their hands. Certainly, these actions are often prosecuted by the government as criminal cases.

But criminal actions can also be torts, or civil cases. For example, if Bob punches his neighbor Sam in the face without provocation and injures him, law enforcement may be interested in prosecuting Bob. Regardless, Sam can sue Bob under a tort cause of action for battery and recover damages for his injuries. There are many examples of individuals who have recovered for personal injuries resulting from unjustified physical attacks by another person. 

Moreover, in some circumstances, the victim can recover in civil court, even when the government is unable to obtain a criminal conviction. This is because the two actions proceed under different standards of proof. In the criminal action, the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. In the civil case, the plaintiff only has to prove the case by a preponderance of the evidence. This is an easier burden to meet.

A notable example is O.J. Simpson. As everyone knows, he was found not guilty in his criminal trial. However, he was ultimately held liable for wrongful death in a civil action.

An Intention to Cause Harm is Often Not Required

Keep in mind that for many intentional torts, an intention to cause harm is not required. The wrongdoer only had to have an intention to perform the act that caused the harm. Consider Sarah, who pushes Jackie in a moment of anger. Sarah did not intend to harm Jackie, but did intend to push him. If he falls, hits his head on something hard, and suffers injury, Sarah can be held liable.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and Other Examples of Intentional Torts

Oregon law also recognizes a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Other examples of intentional torts include fraud, defamation, and trespass.

Call with Questions

Wrongful intentional conduct is a broad category, including but not limited to road rage, gunshots, bar fights, and other physical confrontations. In many such situations, the wrongdoer can be held liable for his or her wrongful conduct. Just as in negligence cases, a victim can recover for items such as medical and hospital expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other applicable damages.

The experienced Oregon personal injury lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield know Oregon law and can help explain your rights. Please call us with your questions. We take pride in helping injured personal injury victims because we believe the only way to keep society safe is by holding wrongdoers accountable for their behavior.


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