What is an Intentional Tort? A Guide to Understanding Tort Law Part 1

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Tort law protects a person’s rights in case s/he is wrongfully injured by others. Eventually, the wrongdoers need to pay damages or compensation caused to the victim. In this regard, there are two types of tort: intentional and unintentional. And intentional tort may be subjected to more compensation than the latter one.

In this article, you’ll discover everything about intentional tort, including how to file a claim.

Table of Contents

What is Tort Law in Canada?

Before you learn about intentional tort, make sure you clearly understand tort law in Canada.

The word tort means ‘wrong’ or ‘injustice,’ and it originates from Latin. Most of the tort laws are created by the judges, and some are by the provinces.

The purpose of developing tort law in Canada is to confirm one can ask for compensation when someone occur them of any damage. The loss can be physical, emotional, mental, and financial.

For instance, you’ll be held responsible if you cause any damage to someone’s property, and you must compensate accordingly. And Tort law makes sure people get compensation if they suffer any form of loss or injury as well.

Many aspects of your life get affected when you’re a tort victim. On the other hand, people are supposed to offer help after you’re harmed.

Overall, the law of torts helps to prevent people from harming one another. And it propels us to carry out our responsibility to our society as law-abiding citizens.

Let’s learn about intentional tort in the following section.

What is Intentional Tort?

An intentional tort is the most serious tort. It deals with all the crimes conducted on purpose, causing harm to an individual or their property. Some examples of tort law are sexual assault, property damage, unwanted or inappropriate physical contact, and fraud. An intentional tort can also be a criminal act.

Torts have different degrees of severity. If your misconduct is a serious crime requiring extreme penalty, you’ll be charged under criminal and tort law.

Unintentional Tort Claims: Understanding Alberta Law

What are the Types of Intentional Torts?

Several acts are considered intentional torts. Find the most common types of intentional torts listed below.


One of the most common intentional torts is assault. Assault refers to someone committing an attack when they put another person’s physical, mental, or emotional safety in danger.


A battery is when someone uses force on another person without that person’s consent, intending to cause harm. Given their behavior, assault and battery may appear to be similar torts.

N.B: while an assault is typically considered an attempted battery, a battery only occurs when the offender makes physical contact with the victim.

False imprisonment

When a person restricts another person’s freedom of movement, that person has are liable for false imprisonment. Anyone can unlawfully confine others. So, confinement without valid justification is referred to as false imprisonment.

Also, a false arrest occurs when a law enforcement official detains a person without legal permission.


Fraud refers to any form of deception that causes harm to another person. It is one of the most challenging categories of intentional torts to describe. Fraud can be defined as trickery, misinterpretations, scams, and misinterpreting to harm the victim. And the area can be broader.

Invasion of privacy

Like fraud, invasion of privacy is a broad concept. It includes invading during seclusion, publicly revealing private information, spreading false information, identity theft, exploiting information etc.

The most common example of invasion of privacy is intellectual property infringement.

Emotional infliction

If someone engages in outrageous or harsh behaviour causing extreme emotional suffering, that is also an intentional tort. Due to the complexity of the tort, emotional infliction claims can be challenging for the victim to prove.

Tort Claim: What does it Mean and Why You Need This?

How Do Intentional Torts Work?

To understand intentional torts thoroughly, you need to know about the three major aspects: consent, self-defence, and legal authority.

Learn more about these aspects below.


You can’t seek compensation if you have consented to an action that could cause you harm. As you consent to an action, you’re voluntarily accepting the risk.

For example, you’re a boxing player. As the game’s nature suggests, you will get hurt physically. So, when you sign up for a boxing competition, you’re okay with the injuries associated with the game.

Note that one can take their consent back. In that case, if any injury happens after you withdraw your consent, the defendant will be held liable for the act.

Moreover, the capacity of consent matters. Otherwise, the consent will be invalid. Considering that if a person is a minor, intoxicated, and mentally challenged, the consent won’t be irrational.


You will need to prove that you were self-defensive. That way, you won’t be responsible for the injuries or damages. And you could be saving other people as well.

To prove that someone was defensive in an incident and the action wasn’t a counter-attack, they need to confirm that they already know about the danger. This way, you can convince the court that you were defensively throwing a punch.

Legal Authority

If someone is a parent, teacher, police officer, or airline guard, you have the legal authority to take action. In that case, they can’t be accused of an act that can look like an intentional tort.

How to Make an Intentional Tort Claim?

To make a tort settlement claim, you need to take several steps. Here are the things you’ve to do.

Step 1: First, you must contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you understand your case better and assist you thoroughly in getting the compensation.

Step 2: Collect evidence; the more proof you can present, the stronger your claim is. Evidence includes: photos, medical documents, and police reports.

Remember that you must claim intentional tort within 2 years of an incident.

How much compensation can you get in an intentional tort claim?

There is no definitive number for the compensation you can get from a tort claim. The compensation amount will depend on the severity of the damage.

While the severity of damages will be considered, your expense will also be a factor. That means if the incident caused you expenses and you lost your job, these factors will be taken into account too.

For an intentional tort law, you can expect compensation for the following aspects.

  • Pain & suffering
  • Medical costs
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of enjoyment

How to get compensation from an intentional tort claim?

To obtain compensation from an intentional tort claim, you must prove that the other party was actually trying to harm you.

Once again, if you want to prove it, you must provide adequate evidence. Once you prove that the defendant wanted to hurt you and the injuries purely happened for the incident, the defendant will be liable.

While deciding for the defendant, the court will consider a couple of factors along with the duty of care the defendant was supposed to offer you.

Additionally, sometimes plaintiffs need to prove that the defendant actively wanted the consequences to happen, such as – case filing and facing the court found guilty. The things you need to prove will depend on the seriousness of the total situation.

Final Remarks

Although tort claims are common law of torts, they can be complicated. Thus, people generally ask for professional legal help as they can’t handle the legal process alone. If you’ve been harmed by someone and think you are liable for compensation, you must make a tort claim within two years since the incident occurred. We recommend you to consult an expert lawyer in such a case.


Got more questions? The following queries might help you to learn more about tort law in Canada.

What is an example of an intentional tort?

Frequently, people file for battery, assault, and trespassing as tort claims. Other than these, there're a few more common torts law examples, such as – harming someone emotionally and causing them emotional distress, trespass to chattels, false imprisonment, etc.

What is an example of an unintentional tort?

An unintentional tort means that the act was completely unintended but caused damages, losses, or injuries. Examples of some common unintentional torts can be: medical malpractice, product liability, social host liability, motorcycle accidents, etc.

What is the difference between intentional and unintentional torts?

The main difference is unintentional torts are rather negligent. Meaning you did it somehow unknowingly. On the other hand, an intentional tort implies that you did it knowingly, in other words, deliberately.

What's the difference between negligence and intentional tort?

When something happens due to negligence, it's unintended, for example, a motorcycle accident. And this is known as unintentional tort. In terms of intentional tort, it means that it's been done with conscious effort or simply planned. Some examples are trespassing, false imprisonment, etc.



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