Intentional vs. Accidental Injuries Attorneys Passaic County NJ

Activities which in the past where considered minor and outside of the realm of the courts have now been criminalized.

Intentional vs. Accidental Injuries Attorneys Passaic County NJThe more aggressive approach taken by the courts over the last thirty when it comes to injuries has made things more complicated for personal injury attorneys. Now the issue of accidental vs. intentional injuries must be addressed when it comes to any personal injury case.

Activities which in the past where considered minor and outside of the realm of the courts have now been criminalized. For example, in the past, simple scuffles that occurred everyday between high school students would result in internal disciplinary actions by the school in the form of detentions and suspensions. However, nowadays these same actions could result in charges within the criminal justice system that can seriously impact a child’s future. Furthermore, incidents such as bar scuffles or fights that did not result in major or serious injury could mean the bouncers ejecting someone from the premises. Now, these types of incidents can result in life-changing criminal charges and perhaps jail time.

Whether the injuries someone has sustained where intentional or accidental can have a great impact on any personal injury claim put forth by the injured party.

What is ‘Intent’ to Cause Harm?

Sadly, a person getting injured is not an uncommon event. Sometimes people cause injuries to themselves, sometimes others cause them. Injuries can be a direct result of an accident, such as a car accident or a workplace accident and other times the injuries have been intentionally inflicted, as in during a fight or assault.

In most cases, in order for a crime to have occurred, there must be “mens rae” meaning criminal intent. The literal translation from Latin is “guilty mind.” Mens rea refers to the state of mind statutorily required in order to convict a particular defendant of a particular crime. Thus if you swing your arm and accidentally hit someone in the face this does not assault.

The elements of intent are as follow:


An individual acted purposely while possessing the conscious object to engage in the conduct or bring about the anticipated result.


Conduct was committed knowingly where an individual was aware of the nature of their actions or a significant likelihood that they existed.


An individual acted recklessly with conscious disregard that a significant likelihood of a result.


Conduct is negligent under the criminal code where it is committed in the face of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that an offense will result from their actions.

The exemption to the necessity for criminal intent to be present for a crime is negligence.  New Jersey statute 2A:15-5.1, et seq defines negligence as the failure to exercise an expected degree of care in order to minimize the risk of injury to another. To be “negligent,” then, is to be the cause of an injury to another for failing to act as a reasonable person should. This is the reason why when a drunk driver injures someone it is a crime even if they had no intention of doing harm.

Injuries where there was no intent to harm

When someone is injured, it may give rise to a criminal case, a personal injury case, or in some cases both. Often it comes down to intent or the lack thereof. If someone intentionally harms someone else, he or she commits a crime and has criminal responsibility thus they can be prosecuted in criminal court. This does not exempt them from a civil lawsuit or a personal injury case on top of criminal charges.

Moreover, if someone accidentally injures or kills someone else, it may or may not necessarily be considered illegal. A prime example of this is when a doctor accidentally kills or injures someone due to surgical errors, improper prescriptions, or failure to act when necessary. The doctor may not necessarily be prosecuted in criminal court.

In the cases of medical negligence, the patient or, if the patient has died, the patient’s surviving family members would have the right to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the doctor, even if the doctor faces no criminal charges. This is also the case when it comes to premises liability and product liability both of which fall into the category of negligence.

Contact a Passaic County Personal Injury Attorney Today to Review Your Case

In short, a person can all be held legally accountable when we injure someone else, even if it was a complete accident. In these cases, the injured party can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party, whose negligence was the cause of the victim’s injuries.

The Montanari Law Group has been fighting the legal rights of clients involved in Intentional vs. Accidental Injuries because of negligent or reckless behavior across Woodland Park, Paterson, Hawthorne, Wayne, and across Northern New Jersey for many years.

Feel free to contact us by fill out our online form or give us a call through our Little Falls office today at 973-233-4396 for a free consultation.


To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973)-233-4396 or toll-free at (888)-877-7985. You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.