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Tort Law

DEFINITION

Tort law is applicable in case of a tort, or civil wrong, which is seen as a cause of action under the laws of the government.

EXPLANATION

The purpose of Tort law is to acquire remedy from one party to another for a civil wrong. This means that one party cannot harm another, whether intentionally or through negligence, without offering some remedy. The remedy may a form of monetary compensation as damages, which are an award that a court tends to give to an injured party. This is done not only for the sake of the injured party but also to prevent a similar occurrence from happening in the future. Damages can be paid for a variety of reasons, whether those reasons, or causes of action, are related to damage to property, medical expenses, or non-economic reasons like emotional suffering or distress. The biggest difference between tort law and other kinds of law is that like criminal law, tort law is mandated by the government. Parties can enter into a contract and be bound to it willingly; they choose to be bound by it. With criminal and tort law, the government of a country will hold all of its citizens to both criminal and tort standards that are illegal to cross. However, there is a distinct similarity between contract law and court law in that in both cases, plaintiffs have to be able to show that they’ve suffered foreseeable, or predicable, harm as a direct consequence of the offendent’s, or tortfeasor’s actions.

Types of Torts

There are many types of actions that can fall under the category of tort. Some may be intentional, like crimes, while other may be unintentional, and fall under the category of negligence. In U.S. labor law, the term ‘collateral tort’ can refer to an action like wrongful dismissal, which can cause emotional distress, like outrage. There is also a tort called a strict liability tort, which is applicable in a case where a company may be releasing defective products. With strict liability cases, there’s no grey area as far as intent or negligence for the defendant. The only thing a court will try to discern is whether harm resulted from the defendant’s actions.

Negligence is the most commonly contested tort. Negligence can cause a host of conflicts related to property, personal safety, economic security and more, and often leads to a damages claim. Negligence can apply to cases that deal with anything from warranty disputes to worker’s negligence to car accidents and more. Negligence arises from breaking what is called a ‘duty of care’, which is owed from one party to another.

Establishing whether negligence is present in a court of law requires the following:

–              A duty of care was established between the plaintiff and the offendant through a specific relationship.

–              The duty of care was breached in some way.

–              The breach of duty resulted in the tortfeasor directly cause injury to the plaintiff.

–              The plaintiff did suffer damage.

–              The damage was proximate in that it didn’t happen from a distance: there was proximate cause.

Proximate cause means that it must be possible to show how harm was directly a result of the tort for which the case has been called and not a pre-existing condition. Someone with a pre-existing injury, like an injured leg, gets into a car crash and the leg is reinjured. This means that in a court, the plaintiff would have to be able to prove that any leg pain was a result from the car crash, and not because of the natural evolution of his or her previous problem.

An intentional tort is a bit different, and usually occur from property-based disputes. An intentional tort requires intent or an obvious act. This can include a person who constantly gets in the way of his neighbor’s enjoyment or use of his yard through noise, for instance. An instance like this would be considered a tort of nuisance. This can also include trespassing on a private citizen’s land. Other intentional torts can include criminal actions like battery, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress. This is considered a tort.  A tort involving property, or a property tort involves purposefully interfering with a person’s rights to the use of their property.

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