In the contemporary era of science and technology, everything is just so – fast. Communication is faster, access is faster and hiring an attorney to defend yourself is faster as well. But before you jump into this quagmire, you should know what basic wrongs are and what does the law say about it. Let’s begin shall we!
Tort Law – An Introduction
Before we talk about tort law, let’s just briefly understand the concept of a tort. In layman terms, a tort is a civil wrong – something that causes pain or harm to an individual of the society in any particular way. Tort law, therefore, refers to a set of laws that provides solutions to certain individuals who have suffered harm/damage by the unreasonable acts of another individual(s). A tort includes anything ranging from a personal injury to a monetary loss regardless of it being intentional or accidental. The state, being responsible for the well-being of the (suffering) individual, tries to compensate his/her loses. The entire concept of torts law is with one sole purpose – protection of the individual.
If someone is mentally harassing you, that’s a tort as well
How Does Tort Law Work?
So, for example, you go to the pharmacist for purchasing medicines and he gives you fake or used pills. As a result, you get sick or infected with a virus. Under tort law, you have suffered damage by the pharmacy and have the prerogative to register a complaint against them. In this case, you become the plaintiff – the injured or wronged party, and the pharmacy is considered the tortfeasor or defendant – the negligent party.
Then, as per the law, the pharmacy will be required to make up for the damage you have suffered. It can be a monetary reimbursement, medical expenses and punitive damages etc.
Tort Law – Types & Implementation
Because torts are wrongdoings committed against private entities or individuals, usually there is no fine or confinement. The punishment is mostly based on supplementing the plaintiff monetarily. Therefore, in order to get the suffering individual compensation in the best way possible, tort law is compartmentalized under three types:
- Intentional torts
- Negligence torts
- Strict liability torts
Let’s briefly go through these three types one-by-one.
As evident by the name, when a party or person tries to instill fear or cause harm to another party or person on purpose, this is termed as an intentional tort. Assault, vandalism, fraud, trespassing and invasion of privacy fall under this group. Furthermore, if an individual tries to scare another individual with the sole purpose of inculcating fear (even if he didn’t mean to cause harm), it falls under the category of an intentional tort. The accidental or unintentional cases do not fall under this category. For example you’re walking on the road and a person riding a bicycle accidentally bumps into you, he is not held responsible under the intentional tort law.
Negligence occurs when an individual or party fails to implement the care that is prudent under a certain scenario. A car accident caused by a moving vehicle when the signal is red, a pharmacist ignoring the doctor’s prescription or a general store owner selling old stuff which is expired and he didn’t bother to check are all examples of negligence torts. Under such circumstances, the state makes it the defendant’s duty to compensate for the plaintiff’s loses. Again, these laws differ from tort to tort and state to state but the ideology behind them is same – protection of the individual.
STRICT LIABILITY TORTS
In strict liability torts, the guilty party is held responsible for the consequence of their activities even if there was no intent to harm and without a plaintiff. Causing a traffic jam by not driving your car, causing fear in someone just for the sake of fun or unintentionally causing someone problems is a part of strict liability torts. For example, someone refuses to drive their car on the main road and this results in a widespread traffic jam, he or she are guilty of causing a tort as people are being negatively affected by this. Under such circumstances, the law will hold you responsible even if your intent was not to cause harm.
WRAPPING IT UP
Summarizing our discussion, it is imperative we know about our rights as well as the law regarding safety of oneself and others. If people can just think about these basic rules before they cause a problem and get in hot water, many of us won’t need to call a lawyer every now and then. Patience is key here and as rightfully said, a virtue.