What Are Torts?

Torts are civil wrongs. It's the act of one person unfairly causing another person or the person's property suffered injury or loss. The injured person may then sue the injurer for damages.

In the case of torts, the tortfeasor, or the person who committed the tortious act, may be legally liable. The tortfeasor did not necessarily have to commit an act, they could have also caused harm by being negligent or not acting.  

What is negligence? Negligence in the case of torts, arises when one person fails to exercise the care that a reasonable and prudent person would exercise in the same circumstances to prevent harm to another.

Although less common, torts can also be intentional, such as in the case of product liability.

Additionally, the injuries obtained from a tortious act do not have to be physical injuries; they can be emotional injuries or economic injuries. They can also be injuries to your reputation. Or they can violate your right to privacy or property.

A tort is a civil wrong not necessarily a criminal wrong. Torts cases are heard in civil court proceedings and criminal cases are heard in criminal proceedings. Tort law is different from criminal law for these three main reasons:

  1. Tort law is concerned with the individual and compensates victims for these injurious acts, whereas criminal cases are more concerned with punishing wrongdoers.
  2. Torts can result from negligent, intentional or criminal actions.
  3. The burden of evidence for tort cases are lower than criminal cases, they only need a preponderance of evidence and not evidence that shows beyond a reasonable doubt. However, sometimes an action may be face both a civil and criminal penalties.

Examples of tort cases:

  • Auto accidents
  • False Imprisonment
  • Battery
  • Defamation
  • Trespassing
  • Product Liability
  • Copyright Infringement
  • Environmental Pollution

Two common defenses to torts:

  1. The alleged wrongdoer was acting in self defense.
  2. The alleged wrongdoer was acting with the alleged victim's consent.

For more information or specific advice related to your tort case, consult with an experienced civil litigation attorney.

 

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