In California, we have dog bite strict liability laws as well. Some states have a one bite rule, however, so strict liability is usually a legislative enactment and not always based on judge made law or tort lawsuit history.
There are two types of properties that intentional torts cover, and these include:
Vicarious liability could attach if an employer ordered or directed the tort, so don’t assume there is only one defendant’s actions. Liability for a civil wrong involving tortious conduct can be spread around under common law.
This means there may be more than one source of recovery or insurance policy. However, if you argue everything was intentional, defendant’s insurance won’t cover anything, so be careful when pleading these claims. Let’s explore intentional torts to property with Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys.
An intentional tort is when someone intentionally carries out a wrongful act that causes damage or harm to another individual. The intentional act must not necessarily cause the eventual outcome.
Intentional torts can lead to civil liability and be a crime, falling under criminal law.
Under the intentional tort law, there are several types of intentional torts, including the following most common intentional torts:
Also a generally uninsurable tort as a matter of public policy, this occurs when someone intentionally touches upon your emotions to permanently cause mental distress and damages.
Under the intentional torts to property, there are two types of trespass torts, trespass to land and trespass to chattels.
Trespass to land refers to the interference of a person on another’s land without their consent, or remains on the land, or throwing an object on the land. Unlike nuisance, which requires proof of damage, the plaintiff does not necessarily have to prove damages under such circumstances as trespass to land.
A plaintiff bringing the trespass to land claim against a defendant must prove the following:
The defendant must have a purpose for the interference with the land. It does not necessarily have to be a particular land the defendant intended to trespass, but the intent must be there. The interference does not necessarily have to be important in nature, cause physical harm, or even be egregious.
In the case of Gregory v Piper, the defendant asked his servant to build a wall of rubbish to prevent the plaintiff from using their land to get to their property. After the servant built the wall, the wind displaced some debris onto the plaintiff’s property, who sued the defendant for trespass.
Although the nature of the issue is inconsequential, it is enough to constitute trespass to land, and the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff.
There must be voluntariness or an intent to trespass on someone’s land. In Stone v Smith, the defendant was forced onto the plaintiff’s land through violence by others. The plaintiff sued the defendant for trespass, but the court ruled in favor of the defendant, stating that he was not voluntarily there.
A trespass by mistake is actionable. In Conway v George Wimpey & Co Ltd, the defendant’s driver was told not to give a lift on the lorry to other people besides the company’s workers, but he gave a ride to the plaintiff, who was not a company employee.
After a short ride, the plaintiff dismounted the lorry but got his leg caught under the wheel, badly crushed and requiring amputation. The plaintiff brought a civil action against the defendant.
The court stated that the plaintiff was a trespasser even if he didn’t know he was trespassing and that the defendant is not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries as the plaintiff relied on the permission to use the lorry provided by the driver who didn’t have authority to provide consent.
Unlike trespass to land that deals with real property, trespass to chattels refers to one person’s direct and intentional interference with another’s personal property, moving or non-moving.
A plaintiff who brings a trespass to chattels case against a defendant must prove the following elements:
The defendant does not necessarily have to know that the property belongs to you, as possessing or damaging someone else’s property is interference. Unauthorized observation does not constitute a trespass to chattels. In Malone v Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the plaintiff sued the defendant for having the Post Office intercept his phone calls.
However, the court ruled in favor of the defendant as it was the Post Office tapping the phones and not the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. The court also stated that the phone tapping occurred through the wires outside the plaintiff’s property. Although the case later became an invasion of privacy, it was not a valid trespass to chattel tort claim.
There must be an element of interference to have a valid trespass to chattel claims, even if there was no intent to trespass. In Wilson v Lombank, the defendant went to a garage to pick up his employer’s car but instead picked up the plaintiff’s car, causing the plaintiff to sue the defendant.
The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and stated that the defendant interfered with the plaintiff’s rights, which was adequate to establish liability.
However, if the defendant mistakenly interferes, that could be a successful defense for a trespass to chattel claim. In National Coal Board v JE Evans & Co, the council contracted the defendant’s services to excavate the land.
When the defendant started the job, they did not know about a cable wire under the land belonging to the plaintiff. The defendant struck the wire causing damage to it, leading the plaintiff to sue the defendant for trespass to chattels.
According to the court, there was no liability as the defendant’s act was involuntary and accidental. The court further stated that the liability lay with the plaintiff since they did not inform the council about the wire under their land.
There are three basic remedies under the tort law, and these include the following:
If you were a victim of trespass or have suffered damages due to another’s trespassing, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation to learn more about your rights and legal options from one of the best intentional tort law firms today.