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Intentional Automobile Collision Torts in Florida


Many Miami automobile collisions are accidental, caused by one driver’s negligent or reckless behavior. Those injured due to another driver’s negligence may be able to recover in a personal injury lawsuit for damages. What happens, however, if someone intentionally causes an automobile accident?

In April 2019, a California driver intentionally drove his car into a group of pedestrians who were walking along a sidewalk in North California. At 6:40 PM, the driver accelerated as he drove into a crosswalk filled with pedestrians. Eight pedestrians sustained injuries as a result, and evidence suggests an intent to drive into the pedestrians. One of the victims sustained severe injuries. Police authorities believe that this was an isolated incident and not a terrorist attack.

The state of California charged the driver with eight counts of attempted murder, a criminal charge. What, if anything, might the victims be able to recover in civil court for their injuries?  In Florida, a victim can bring a personal injury lawsuit when someone negligently causes them harm as well as when someone intentionally causes them harm.

Intentional Torts

Whenever someone acts maliciously, purposefully, or knowingly to hurt another person or his property, he has committed an intentional tort, and the victim has a cause of action in civil court. There are two main categories of intentional torts: intentional torts against property and intentional torts against people.

The following causes of action are intentional torts in Florida:

  • Defamation
  • Conversion
  • Trespass to Chattels
  • Trespass to Land
  • Misrepresentation/Fraud
  • Infliction of Emotional Distress
  • False Imprisonment
  • Battery
  • Assault

Assault is a common intentional tort. If a person assaults another person, prosecutors may bring criminal charges against the perpetrator. In addition to the criminal charges, the victims of assault could bring a civil personal injury lawsuit if they meet the elements of a prima facie case of assault. In other words, a Florida jury could convict someone of the crime of assault, and then the victim could sue the defendant in court to recover monetary damages for any injuries caused by the assault.

The same is true with the intentional tort of battery. Whereas assault is the threat to inflict an injury on someone capable of hurting you, a battery occurs when the perpetrator actual makes offensive or violent physical contact with you. In the recent instance above, if a jury convicts the defendant of 8 counts of attempted murder, the victims could also sue the defendant in court for the battery. The defendant caused his car to make offensive or violent contact with the victim. This intentional contact caused the injuries.

If successful, the injured pedestrians could recover for past, present and future medical costs, the cost of loss of wages and compensation for the pain and suffering that resulted from being targeted and hit by the defendant’s car.

Let Us Help You with Your Auto Collision Case Today 

If you or a loved one experienced an injury resulting from an intentional tort perpetrated on you by another person or from an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it is advantageous to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help guide you through the process of seeking compensation. Contact the Miami car accident attorneys at Spencer Morgan Law today for assistance with your case.


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