A tort is a civil wrong or injury that one person or entity causes to another.
When someone commits a tort, they have breached their legal duty to another party, resulting in harm or damages.
Torts can take many forms, including intentional torts (such as assault, battery, or defamation), negligent torts (such as car accidents or medical malpractice), and strict liability torts (such as product liability).
A tort attorney specializes in representing clients who’ve been injured or harmed by someone else’s wrongful conduct. Their main focus is to help their clients get compensation for the harm they have suffered through negotiation, settlement, or litigation in a court of law.
Tort attorneys can help people who have been injured in car accidents, slip and fall incidents, medical malpractice, or product defects, among others. They work to gather evidence, build a strong case, and advocate for their clients to help them obtain the best possible outcome for their case.
What Types of Remedies Are Available in a Tort Cause of Action?
When a person is harmed by a tort, these are some of the remedies that may be available to them:
- Compensatory Damages: Compensatory damages are the most common remedy in tort cases, intended to compensate the injured party for their losses. They include both economic and non-economic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.
- Punitive Damages: In some cases, the court may award punitive damages designed to punish the defendant for their wrongful conduct and deter them from behaving similarly in the future. Punitive damages are most often awarded in cases involving intentional or reckless behavior.
- Injunction: An injunction is a court order requiring the defendant to stop a particular behavior or take a specific action. In tort cases, an injunction can be granted to prevent the defendant from continuing to engage in the behavior that caused the harm.
- Restitution: This remedy requires the defendant to restore the plaintiff to the position they were in before the tort happened. Restitution is often awarded in cases where the defendant has wrongfully taken property or money from the plaintiff.
- Nominal Damages: This is a small amount of money that the court may award to the plaintiff in cases where there was a technical violation of the plaintiff’s rights, but no actual harm was done.
- Liquidated Damages: These are damages agreed to in advance by the parties in a contract as the amount to be paid in case of a breach. Liquidated damages are often used in commercial contracts to avoid lengthy legal battles.
Monetary damages, such as compensatory and punitive damages, are the most common remedies available in tort cases. The amount of damages awarded will depend on the case’s specific circumstances, including the severity of the harm suffered and the level of fault on the defendant’s part. In general, the goal of any remedy in a tort case is to make the injured party whole and provide them with some measure of justice for the harm they have suffered.
Are There Any Defenses Available in a Tort Lawsuit?
Yes, there are several defenses that may be available in a tort lawsuit.
Defenses are legal arguments raised by the defendant that, when successful, can absolve them of liability or reduce the damages they have to pay.
Here are some of the most common defenses in tort cases:
- Self-defense: A defendant may argue that they acted in self-defense, meaning they used reasonable force to protect themselves or others from danger.
- Comparative negligence: Comparative negligence is a defense that may be raised when the plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to their injuries. In these cases, the defendant can argue that the plaintiff should be held partially responsible for their own injuries, and the damages awarded should be reduced accordingly.
- Assumption of risk: Assumption of risk is a defense that may be raised when the plaintiff knows or should have known the risks associated with the activity that caused their injuries. In these cases, the defendant may argue that the plaintiff willingly assumed the risk of injury and shouldn’t be able to recover damages.
- Contributory negligence: Contributory negligence can be raised in some instances where the plaintiff’s own negligence completely blocks their recovery. In these cases, if the plaintiff contributed to their injuries in any way, they may be barred from recovering any damages.
- Statute of limitations: The statute of limitations defense may be raised when the plaintiff files a lawsuit after the deadline for doing so has passed. In these cases, the defendant may argue that the plaintiff’s claim is time-barred and should be dismissed.
- Immunity: In some cases, the defendant may be immune from liability, such as when acting as a government employee or official.
The availability and success of any of these defenses will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your case, as well as the applicable law in the jurisdiction where the lawsuit is filed.
What Kinds of Cases Do Tort Lawyers Handle?
Tort lawyers handle cases where an individual or entity has been harmed by the wrongful or negligent actions of another.
Some cases that tort lawyers handle include the following:
- Slip and Fall Injuries: Slip and fall cases involve injuries on someone else’s property due to a dangerous condition, such as a wet floor, uneven surface, or poorly maintained property. In these cases, the property owner or occupier may be responsible for the injuries that resulted from the dangerous condition.
- Assault and Battery: Assault and battery cases involve intentional harmful acts, such as physical attacks, sexual assault, or verbal threats that cause a person to fear for their safety. In these cases, the victim may be able to recover damages for the harm they suffered and the emotional distress caused by the assault.
- Product Liability: Product liability cases involve injuries caused by defective products, such as defective vehicles, medical devices, or household appliances. In these cases, the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer can be held liable for the harm caused by the defective product.
- Premises Liability: Premises liability cases involve injuries on someone else’s property due to unsafe or hazardous conditions, such as a lack of adequate security, a poorly maintained building, or dangerous animals. In these cases, the property owner or occupier may be liable for the injuries that result from the dangerous condition.
- Medical Malpractice: Medical malpractice cases involve injuries caused by a healthcare provider’s negligent or wrongful actions. These cases involve misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, or other forms of medical negligence.
- Defamation: Defamation cases involve harm caused by false statements that damage a person’s reputation, such as libel or slander.
These are just a few examples of tort cases that tort lawyers can handle. The specific cases that a tort lawyer may handle depending on their specialization and the types of cases they choose to take on.
Should I Hire a Torts Lawyer If I Have Been Injured?
If you’ve suffered harm or injury due to the wrongful or negligent actions of another person or entity, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. A tort lawyer can help you pursue a claim and seek the compensation you deserve.
Don’t wait to get legal advice if you have been injured in a slip and fall, suffered injuries from a defective product, or have been the victim of medical malpractice. Contact a qualified tort lawyer in your area to schedule a consultation and talk about your case.