In the legal system, any action that causes an injury to someone else may be grounds for a personal injury claim, whether they were committed on purpose or accidentally. These actions, known as torts, generally fall under two distinct categories: intentional and negligent. While there are important similarities between the two, the differences can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of your case.

What Are Torts of Negligence?

personal injury claimEveryone has a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect the safety and property of other people. When someone fails to take steps to avoid accidents and prevent injuries, they may be held legally responsible even if they didn’t intend to hurt anyone.

Auto accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury claims caused by negligence. If a driver was speeding, ran a red light, or was intoxicated at the time of the accident, you may be able to sue for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

What Are Intentional Torts?

When someone intentionally causes harm to you or your property, a civil suit can help you achieve justice. If you’ve been the victim of assault, battery, or theft, you may be able to file a personal injury claim even if the prosecutor decided not to file charges. The key difference is that the liable party in an intentional tort intended to cause harm or took an action they knew might hurt somebody else.

Differences in Damages

The liable party’s state of mind during the action can have a dramatic impact on the damages you receive. Generally, settlements in accidental tort cases are intended to compensate the injured party, but courts typically award higher amounts to victims of malicious actions. In addition to your medical expenses and lost wages, your personal injury claim can include punitive damages, which can significantly increase the amount you receive.


If you’ve been injured, the attorneys at Crandall & Katt, Attorneys at Law in Roanoke, VA, care about helping you achieve justice. For 40 years, they’ve provided aggressive representation for victims throughout Central and Southwest Virginia, achieving positive results in a wide range of personal injury claims. Visit their website to see how they can help or call (540) 342-2000 to schedule an initial consultation.