Intentional Torts: What Are They?

A tort is considered to be a civil wrongful act or an infringement of a right, which leads to civil legal liability. An intentional tort carries intent, meaning that the person committing the tort had the purpose or knowledge of doing so. A few common intentional torts include:

  • Battery;
  • Assault; and
  • False Imprisonment.


A battery, in terms of tort law, is defined as the intentional bringing of an action with the desire to cause a harmful or offensive contact. The individual committing the battery must have the purpose or knowledge of causing the harmful or offensive contact. The contact must be harmful and/or offensive, which is objectively determined by the average, reasonable person, and can either be direct or indirect. Direct contact is the actual contact with a person. Conversely, indirect contact can occur when the person committing the tort makes contact with something attached to the person, such as clothing or a cane.


Assault, in the context of tort law, is defined as the purpose or knowledge to cause reasonable apprehension of an immediate harmful or offensive contact. A few subfactors fall under apprehension. In order to have apprehension, the action must be imminent and inappropriate to the social circumstances, the person being put under the apprehension must be aware of the assault, and the reasonable person would feel apprehension when faced with the same situation. Similar to battery, the intent component must be satisfied in order to have a tort for assault.

False Imprisonment

False imprisonment can be defined as the purpose or knowledge to confine. Confinement refers to when a person is faced with a restriction of movement without any reasonable means of escape. The means of escape must not be too dangerous or humiliating. This is determined objectively, according to what the average, reasonable person would consider dangerous or embarrassing. The individual being confined must also be aware of such confinement. Lastly, similar to battery and assault, the intent component must be satisfied in order for a person to be charged with false imprisonment.

Tort law can be quite complicated. If you believe that you have been a victim of a tort, it is important to contact an experienced New York litigation and dispute resolution attorney to explain your legal rights and remedies. The skilled attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group, LLC have extensive knowledge and expertise with litigation and dispute resolution, with heightened experience in tort law and tort law defenses. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New Jersey attorneys, please contact us today at 908-352-2500.

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