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What Is Tort Law?

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Posted On 02.04.15 by in Blog

tort-law

The Basics

Tort law covers a whole body of law that deals with violations wherein a person’s behavior injured someone else or otherwise caused them to suffer or incur unfair losses. With such a broad definition, this field of law can include all kinds of personal injury claims.
These laws serve two general purposes:

  • To ensure the victim is compensated for any losses they suffered because of the defendant’s actions
  • To discourage the defendant from repeating their actions in the future

As you might imagine, tort laws can have a range of outcomes, in order to meet these goals.

Three Types of Torts

To better understand tort law, it helps to take a look at the three categories, albeit broad ones, it can be divided into. They are:

  • Intentional torts (e.g. assault and battery)
  • Unintentional torts (e.g. negligence in the case of someone suffering a slip and fall)
  • Strict liability torts (e.g. cases that involve ultra hazardous chemicals that are dangerous to even be around)

Despite the seriousness of many tort cases, this law falls under civil proceedings, rather than criminal. As such, some torts don’t actually involve conduct that is strictly illegal. However, because the behavior ended up causing harm to someone, there is a case to be heard. In other scenarios, tort cases involve an overlapping of civil and criminal laws, like, for example, with assault.

Specific Examples of Torts

Let’s look at some common examples of torts to better flesh out the above. Tort cases often entail:

  • Trespassing
  • Claims of negligence
  • Wrongful death
  • Civil assault or civil battery
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • Product liability

By far the most common tort lawsuit is the type involving negligence. For one thing, many people can act negligently without really knowing it, because they’re not necessarily doing something illegal.

In order for a tort lawsuit based on negligence to be successful, the victim must be able to prove that not only did the defendant breach a duty of care, but that this is what led to the injuries and/or losses they suffered.

For example, the defendant may have had a duty to keep the sidewalk outside their business shoveled and free of ice. If they didn’t do this, they could face a lawsuit from someone who slipped, fell and got hurt while walking by.

Tort law is important to understand because it’s the basis of almost every personal injury lawsuit. If you’ve suffered because of someone else’s actions or negligence, there’s no reason you need to handle the case by yourself. Instead, call Ingerman and Horwitz today at 1-800-776-4529 for a free consultation and to find out how we can help.

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