When you get injured due to the actions—or inaction—of another party, your personal injury claim will be impacted by whether the defendant acted intentionally or negligently. By understanding the differences, you can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Here’s what you should know. 


While both intentional acts and negligent acts can cause injuries, the state of mind of the defendant separates the two into different categories. When the actor is negligent, they may have no intention of causing harm, yet they are considered legally responsible as a result of their careless actions.  

For a negligence claim to be successful, the plaintiff must prove:

  • The defendant had a duty to take reasonable care to prevent injury to plaintiff
  • They failed to take reasonable care to prevent injury
  • The defendant’s failure to take reasonable care caused injury to plaintiff
  • The plaintiff has damages that can be remedied with monetary compensation  

Intentional Cases

personal injuryUnlike negligence, the defendant in these cases intentionally acts in ways that injure the plaintiff. For example, they may assault the victim or touch them aggressively, such as punching them. Additionally, they may imprison the victim illegally or intentionally inflict emotional distress. 

What Are the Available Damages?

In general, damages in negligence cases focus only on compensation for the plaintiff, while cases involving intentional injury also involve an element of punishment to deter future intentionally harmful conduct. 

Whether the injury is intentional or due to negligence, the plaintiff may seek damages such as lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and medical bills. However, if the defendant acted purposefully or with recklessness, compensation could include punitive damages in addition to the other available damages. 


When you need a personal injury attorney who will fight for the compensation you deserve, contact Allen, Nelson & Wilson. Serving Boone County, MO, they will maximize your compensation by litigating and negotiating on your behalf. They have served over 2,000 clients and have won over $20 million for those they represent. To learn more about their services or schedule a consultation, visit their website or call (573) 441-2667.