Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida personal injury case discussing the doctrine of comparative negligence as it pertains to allegations involving an intentional tort. Ultimately, the court concluded that a court is prohibited from reducing a plaintiff’s damages based on their own negligent actions if the defendant was found liable for an intentional tort.
Intentional Torts Versus Claims of Negligence
A tort is a wrong act that may result in civil liability. Most torts are the result of the defendant’s negligence; however, tort claims can also be based on a defendant’s intentional act. For example, the claim of fraudulent concealment is an intentional tort. One thing that Florida personal injury plaintiffs should keep in mind is that insurance contracts generally do not cover intentional torts. Thus, even if a plaintiff is successful in a Florida intentional tort claim, the defendant may not have the ability to fully compensate the plaintiff. In this regard, negligence claims may be preferred.
The Facts of the Case
The court’s discussion of the underlying facts of the case was brief; however, the case dealt with a plaintiff’s claim against a tobacco manufacturer — precisely, the plaintiff’s claim that the defendant manufacturer fraudulently concealed harmful effects of their products. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff, but also determined that the plaintiff was partially responsible for her injuries, as she was the one who decided to smoke.