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What is Tort Law?

What is a tort, and what does the law say about torts? A tort is an act of civil wrong done to an individual resulting in injury, harm, or loss. Due to the resulting harm or loss, the one who committed the tort will be held legally liable.

In this article, we’ll examine what are torts in further detail, what the tort system is, and some tort law examples.

WHAT IS TORT LAW?

The tort law definition refers to specific laws set out to:

  • Determine whether a particular party is liable for harm caused to another party,
  • Determine the amount of compensation owed to the harmed party.

Harm can include anything from injuries and pain and suffering to property damage and loss of wages. The aim of the compensation is to return the individual back to his or her original state as best as possible, prior to the tort incident.

In certain cases, the court may include punitive damages on top of the awarded compensatory damages. The primary intention of punitive damages is not to compensate the plaintiff. Instead, it is to punish the defendant for acts deemed especially irresponsible and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.

Tort law is the largest area under the umbrella of civil law, which personal injury is also under.

TORT CLASSIFICATIONS

To better understand tort law, we can identify the three ways in which torts can be classified.

  1. Intentional Torts: This type of tort occurs when an individual intentionally committed a wrongful act causing harm to another individual. The key distinction with intentional torts is the requirement of demonstrating that the defendant committed the tort on purpose.
  2. Negligence Torts: Failure to exercise a reasonable standard of care may result in a negligent tort. For a negligent tort case to be successful, there need to be four elements present: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Negligence torts make up the majority of tort lawsuits.
  3. Strict Liability Torts: In strict liability tort cases, the focus shifts from the individual or party committing the tort to the act or incident itself. In other words, strict liability cases do not take into consideration intent or even negligence on the part of the wrongdoer. What matters is the action and the resulting damages that occurred.

TORT EXAMPLES

As mentioned, tort law is a broad area under civil law. Therefore tort examples are broad and varied. Here are just some tort examples based on the three tort classifications we identified earlier.

Intentional Torts

  • Battery: Making unwanted, offensive, or harmful contact with another person.
  • Assault: An attempt to cause harm or an action of a threatening nature.
  • Fraud: The act of lying or making misrepresentations to another person.
  • Trespass: The use of another person’s property without their permission.
  • Infliction of emotional distress: Intentionally frightening another individual, causing severe emotional or mental distress.

Negligence Torts

  • Car/bicycle/motorcycle accidents: If a driver (or rider) speeds and hits a pedestrian causing injuries, the driver can be found negligent.  Las Vegas motorcycle accidents are common and our attorneys can help.
  • Slip and fall: A slip and fall claim is common when an individual falls and injures themselves on the premises of another person’s property.
  • Medical malpractice: Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional does not provide a reasonable or competent degree of care, resulting in harm to the patient.

Strict Liability

  • Product liability: Product liability deals with cases of harm or injury caused by defective products made available to the public by manufacturers, suppliers, or retailers.
  • Owning wild animals: Owners of wild animals will be held liable should any of the animals escape and injure another individual.
  • Exceptionally dangerous activities: For instance, a truck carrying volatile chemicals or hazardous materials can be liable for any harm caused from a spill or explosion.  

TORT LAW REMEDIES

Depending on the nature and severity of the tort case, different remedies will apply. There are three types of remedies in tort law:

  1. Legal remedies: Meant to compensate victims for any damages, losses, injuries, or pain and suffering caused by the tort.
  2. Restitutionary remedies: The aim of this type of remedy is both to restore the victim to the state they were in prior to the tort incident and to ensure the defendant forfeits any unlawfully obtained gains. 
  3. Equitable remedies: Where monetary compensation may not adequately address the impacts of the tort, a judge may impose equitable remedies. These can include a temporary restraining order or an injunction that prohibits the defendant from any unlawful activity.

SHOULD I HIRE AN ATTORNEY FOR TORT CASES?

Tort law covers a broad area of legal practice and requires specialized training to come up with suitable legal strategies in handling tort cases. Moreover, each state will have varying rules and regulations concerning tort rules and regulations.

A qualified attorney will have extensive knowledge in their area of law and be able to help you navigate through the complexities of legal procedures. They can advise you on the strength of your case if you’ve sustained any injuries and want to file a lawsuit.

Most of all, you’ll have a professional looking after your best interests when you most need it. After sustaining an injury, you’re likely not in the state of mind to be fighting a tort case on your own. An attorney will negotiate on your behalf, help with legal documentation, and prepare you for any legal proceedings. 

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