Differentiating Negligent and Intentional Torts


Scott Haworth pic

Scott Haworth
Image: hcandglaw.com

After earning his JD from the New York University School of Law, Scott Haworth worked as an associate at Quirck & Bakalor, PC, and McCarter & English, before joining Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer LLP as a partner. Now managing partner at Haworth Coleman & Gerstman, LLC, Scott Haworth defends matters of product liability, negligent torts, and intentional torts.

Tort claims essentially arise out of injury caused by one person to another. These injuries may have been caused negligently or intentionally, hence a tort can either be a negligent tort or an intentional tort. What determines the nature of a tort is the mindset of the person who committed the tort.

In negligent torts, the person who caused the injury did not willfully intend to do it. It only happened as a result of his or her carelessness. Consider a car accident where a person takes his eyes off the road for a minute and accidentally strikes a pedestrian. The driver did not intend to run over the victim, the accident only happened because of careless driving.

Intentional torts arise from the willful act of one person to cause harm to another. Here, the act causing injury is not committed by accident or carelessness but rather on purpose. Intentional torts include assault, battery, and trespass. Because of their willful nature, many intentional torts are also crimes.