Common Types of Intentional Torts

A tort is an action or omission that can cause injury or harm to someone. Most personal injury cases are based on negligence or strict liability torts. However, Tennessee personal injury laws also cover intentional torts.

What Are Intentional Torts?

An intentional tort occurs when someone acts with specific or general intent to cause harm or injury to another person or property. These actions can cause severe injuries, financial losses, and other damages. 

Examples of intentional torts include, but are not limited to:


Assault involves an intentional act that causes someone to have a reasonable fear of imminent physical harm. The person committing assault does not have to physically touch the victim to assault them.

However, offensive and abusive words are not sufficient to commit assault. Instead, there must be some physical conduct or movement that would cause a reasonable person to fear that they are about to be harmed.


Assault is often charged as a crime with battery because physical conduct frequently follows an assault. Battery is defined as an intentional act that causes unpermitted, offensive, or harmful physical contact.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

According to the Tennessee Supreme Court, the elements you must prove for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress are:

  • The conduct must have been reckless or intentional;
  • The conduct must have been so outrageous that a civilized society would not tolerate it; and,
  • The conduct must have resulted in serious mental injury to the victim.

An example of intentional infliction of emotional distress would be harming a loved one by beating them or stabbing them. Another example might be a person robbing a store and causing the death of someone’s spouse during the commission of the crime.

False Imprisonment

This tort occurs when a party intentionally confines another person without lawful authority. Confinement includes preventing someone from leaving, such as locking a person in a room. It also includes restraining someone, such as tying them to a chair.

False imprisonment can cause physical injuries. However, it can also cause severe mental and emotional trauma.

Proving Liability for an Intentional Tort in Nashville, TN

The injured victim has the burden of proving the elements of an intentional tort claim to recover compensation for damages. 

Therefore, you must prove:

  • The defendant had a legal duty to act in a specific way to avoid harming others
  • The defendant breached the duty of care 
  • The defendant’s conduct was intentional
  • You incurred injury or loss because of the defendant’s actions 

The burden of proof for a tort case is not as high as the proof for a criminal case. You must prove the elements by a preponderance of the evidence instead of beyond a reasonable doubt.

What Damages Are Available in an Intentional Tort Claim in Tennessee?

You can receive compensation for your economic and non-economic damages in an intentional tort case. 

Examples of damages arising from intentional torts include:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Mental trauma
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Impairments and disabilities
  • Mental health treatment/counseling
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Rehabilitative therapies
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

The value of your intentional tort claim depends on the facts of the case. An attorney will work with you to document your damages and determine how much your claim is worth.

The statute of limitations for most Tennessee personal injury cases is one year from the injury date. If you miss the deadline to file a claim, you cannot pursue a case in court.

There are exceptions to the statute of limitations, so it is always best to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A Nashville personal injury lawyer can review your case during a free consultation and advise you of your legal options. 

Contact the Nashville Personal Injury Attorneys at Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers Today

For more information, please contact the Nashville personal injury law firm of Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Nashville, Brentwood, and its surrounding areas in Tennessee:

Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers – Nashville
315 Deaderick St, Suite 1525
Nashville, TN 37238

(615) 685-8546

Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers – Brentwood
320 Seven Springs Way, Suite 250
Brentwood, TN 37027

(615) 455-3384