Tort law is an area of law that allows an individual to sue another person or company because of injury or harm suffered. This is commonly referred to as personal injury law. Tort cases serve two basic purposes. They:
- Permit the victim, known as the plaintiff, to obtain compensation for losses caused by the defendant, who is the person being sued.
- Deter the defendant from repeating the same behavior that caused the harm to the plaintiff.
No. Tort cases are not criminal cases. This means that the defendant in a tort case cannot face a prison sentence for their liability. Instead, the judge typically orders the defendant to pay damages, or money, to the plaintiff.
Torts cases, also referred to as civil lawsuits, are classified into three basic, broad categories:
- Intentional torts
- Strict liability
Intentional torts are civil wrongs done with specific intent on the part of the defendant. The most common intentional torts are:
- False imprisonment
- Trespass to land
- Trespass to chattel
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
While an intentional tort is done on purpose to a plaintiff, negligence is done because of carelessness. In other words, negligence torts are unintentional torts. Negligence is the failure to act as an ordinary person would in the same or similar circumstances. Every plaintiff in a negligence case proves the same elements:
- Breach of duty
Typical negligence claims are for accidents, such as slip and falls and car crashes.
Strict liability cases are tort cases are similar to negligence cases because they are unintentional. The defendants are usually found liable because of harm resulting from their actions regardless of actual intent and fault. Strict liability cases typically involve:
- Wild animals
- Abnormally dangerous activities
- Products liability
Yes, it is in your best interest to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can advise you of how to proceed with your case.