Intentional misconduct occurs when a deliberate action causes damage to another person or their personal property. When an individual is aware that his actions could cause harm and did not care, or actively desired to harm others, it may be considered intentional misconduct. Intentional misconduct in automobile accidents usually occurs when a manufacturer knowingly and willingly sells products that are dangerous or defective. In addition, a driver who operates a vehicle at a high rate of speed or cuts in and out of traffic may be intentionally putting himself and others at risk. Other forms of reckless or risky driving, such as failing to obey basic traffic laws or driving with too many passengers in the car, can also fall under the category of intentional misconduct in auto accident cases.
In a civil auto accident lawsuit in which the plaintiff alleges intentional misconduct, the plaintiff may be able to recover punitive damages in addition to compensation for auto accident injuries, pain and suffering, and lost wages. A car accident victim alleging intentional misconduct does not need to compare the defendant's actions to those of a reasonable person as is the case with negligence auto accident claims. Instead, the plaintiff only needs to show that the defendant intended his or her actions.