In simple words Tort law refers to and emphasizes on handing out solutions to someone who has been a victim of damage or harm caused by an unreasonable action of an individual. Tort law, therefore, states that an individual must be held responsible for the outcome of their acts regardless of the fact if those actions were on purpose or unintentional. If the actions of a certain individual lead to damage or harm to another individual, they shall be held liable for the end results. In legal terms, torts are basically ‘civil wrongs’ and will result in ‘civil lawsuits’.
Torts aren’t only restricted to physical damage or harm caused to another person but can also include damage done to one’s property and reputation. These damages can then be claimed through a proper channel i.e. the court.
Damages are then paid out monetarily known as the award demanded by the court to be presented to the party who claimed damages or harm. To compensate for the loss of an individual whether regarding property damage, personal injury or damage that resulted in a loss of finances can all be claimed by the injured party.
Down below is a list of damages that the court considers as ‘civil wrongs’ either by a person or an entity and is also sometimes referred as tortious conduct:
- compensation for property damage
- medical expenditure
- emotional pain and anguish
- loss of wages or finances due to the injury caused
- and punishment of the defendant for the damage caused i.e. punitive damages
Tort liability may take place due to a number of reasons for instance if an individual has the intent to damage or harm, negligent actions, or for the simple reason when an individual was expected to fulfill a duty but failed to do so and lastly not abiding by the statues/law.
As mentioned earlier the damage may not only be in the form of physical damage, but the plaintiff can also demand to be awarded for damages as a result of emotional distress.
The different type of torts that can result in a civil lawsuit include:
- Emotional Distress
- serious damage caused by a specific product, ‘product liability’
Based on the actions of the party who caused damage, the torts are then divided further into three different categories:
- Intentional torts where an individual intentionally causes another individual damage or harm for example monetary fraud
- Negligent torts are caused by the negligent action of an individual, for instance, using your phone while driving and getting into an accident
- Strict liability torts have to be proved by the plaintiff that resulted from the specific actions of the defendant for example if one has kept a wild animal on their property and have taken proper precautions to ensure the safety of others but still results in harm to another individual, it will still be considered as a tort
Torts aren’t restricted to these categories only but also include privacy, defamation torts etc.
Intentional torts are a consequence of intentional damage or harm caused to an individual where an individual was caused some kind of body damage, emotional distress, breach of privacy, damage to the property such as trespassing. Intentional torts comprise assault/battery, being held captive, privacy intrusion, embezzlement, extortion, damage to one’s personal property, scam, deceit etc.
It falls on the plaintiff (the party who filed for the lawsuit) to prove that the defendant (who caused the damage or harm) had an intention to injure the other party. Intentional torts can also end up being treated as criminal offenses.
Negligent torts, on the other hand, do not involve intent but still end up causing damage or harm to the injured party. But before a tort is considered as negligent these aspects must be taken into consideration:
- Duty of Care, for instance, all individuals who drive have a duty of care to ensure the safety of others by refraining from violating traffic rules such as breaking signals, driving under the influence to avoid harm to everyone present on the road. Failure to do so and harming an individual due to not abiding by the traffic rules will result in a civil lawsuit
- Breach, when an individual or an entity fails to comply with the duty of care resulting in damage or harm to another individual or entity, for example, a person who owns a dog who exhibits aggressive behavior towards children but the owner still takes the dog out to an area filled with children and the dog ends up harming a child is the breach of duty of care by the dog owner
- Damages caused as a result of an injury, the individual must be fully compensated monetarily, for instance, you are struck by a vehicle on the road, which resulted in a broken limb or a concussion and made you unfit to go to work for a couple of weeks resulting in loss of wages, you can file for a civil lawsuit and claim money damages for the injuries caused by the defendant in a court