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What is Tort Law?
What’s important to know about this field of law?
In this article, I will break down the meaning of Tort Law so you know all there is to know about it!
Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!
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Table of Contents
What Is Tort Law
Tort law is a broad field of law designed to compensate private parties for another’s wrongdoing, conduct, or behavior that resulted in injury or damages.
In essence, you can say that most civil lawsuits, to the extent they are not contractual in nature, will fall under tort law.
The main objective of tort law is to provide a person compensation for damages suffered by another’s wrongdoing, negligence, or misconduct.
For example, if a person causes injury to another by failing to observe traffic laws, the injured party can seek compensation from the negligent party in civil court.
A plaintiff filing a civil lawsuit under tort laws will need to prove that the defendant committed a wrongful act or omitted to act resulting in an injury or loss to the plaintiff.
To the extent the plaintiff demonstrates that the wrongful act caused damages, the courts will condemn the defendant to compensate for the damages.
However, in exceptional cases, when the courts consider that the defendant’s conduct was so reckless or so negligent that it significantly deviated from the conduct of a reasonable person, they may condemn the defendant to pay punitive damages.
Keep reading as I will further break down the meaning of tort law and tell you how it works.
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Why Is Tort Law Important
Tort law is one of the most important fields within the broader category of civil law.
Essentially, most civil lawsuits that are not based on contract are likely to be based on tort law or any of its sub-categories.
The fundamental purpose of tort law is to compensate those who are injured by the harmful conduct of another, ensure that wrongdoers are held accountable for their conduct, and deter others from engaging in similar harmful conduct.
The idea is to transfer the financial loss or injury from the injured party to the at-fault party.
Since we live in society and interact with many people in the course of our lives, it’s possible that we suffer an injury caused by another.
For example, a dog owner that does not properly handle his or her dog and causes physical injuries to another will be responsible for the financial losses suffered by the victim.
The courts are generally given broad powers in assessing a defendant’s conduct, determining the reasonableness of the conduct, and attributing responsibility for damages suffered by the plaintiff.
In the next section, I will talk to you about the main categories of tort law.
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Three Tort Law Categories
Tort law can be divided into three distinct categories: intentional tort, negligent tort, and strict liability.
Intentional torts refer to the type of conduct a person engages in knowing that it will harm another person or is likely to cause harm.
For example, a person intentionally physically harms another person knowing that his or her conduct can lead to serious injuries to the other person.
Negligent torts refer to a person’s conduct causing damages to another where the person did not have the intention to harm another but his or her conduct was dangerous or unsafe.
For example, a person speeds through a red light and ends up getting into an accident causing harm to another person.
The third category of tort law is strict liability torts where the intention or conduct of a person is not relevant but whether or not the defendant committed a specific action.
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Tort Law Remedies
Civil plaintiffs that file lawsuits against a defendant under tort laws are typically looking to get compensated for financial losses suffered.
In the United States, tort laws offer plaintiffs three main types of remedies: compensatory damages, injunctive relief, and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages refer to a type of compensation where the plaintiff receives a monetary award making him or her whole again.
For example, if the defendant committed a wrong causing the plaintiff $100,000 in damages, then the court will condemn the defendant to pay the plaintiff damages in the amount of $100,000.
The second type of remedy is injunctive relief which is an order from the court forcing another party to do or refrain from doing something.
For example, if a person caused damages to another person’s reputation by making malicious public statements, the court may issue an injunction against the defendant to refrain from making future public statements relating to the plaintiff.
The third type of remedy is punitive damages which are awarded in exceptional cases.
Punitive damages are awarded by the court, over and above compensatory damages, to either punish the defendant for adopting reckless conduct or to deter others who may be inclined to act in a similar way.
For example, if a large pharmaceutical company is responsible for causing physical harm to many for the use of a particular drug, it may be condemned to pay punitive damages so it does not make the same mistake again and other pharmaceutical companies in the field can adjust their behavior as well.
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Tort Law FAQ
What does tort law mean?
Tort law refers to the body of laws designed to attribute legal liability to a person causing another harm by engaging in wrongful conduct.
The objective is to transfer the risk of loss from the victim of harmful conduct to the perpetrator of the wrongful conduct.
In most tort law cases, the plaintiff seeks compensation in the form of a monetary award.
What is a tort law reform?
Tort law reform refers to changes sought by different stakeholders to tort laws limiting a plaintiff’s ability to file a civil lawsuit against another or reducing the total amount of damages they can obtain.
The rationale behind this is that the more the legal system enables plaintiffs to file lawsuits against others and seek astronomical amounts in damages, the different stakeholders will find it too risky to engage in certain businesses or offer certain services to society.
Alternatively, those that do engage in certain businesses or offer certain services will have no choice but to charge high fees to compensate for the level of legal risk they are exposed to.
This is particularly true for medical professionals who are prone to civil lawsuits for negligence, professional negligence, and other types of claims.
What are examples of tort law claims?
There are many types of claims that can be filed under tort laws falling under the category of intentional torts, negligent torts, or strict liability.
Here are some examples of claims that can be filed under tort laws:
- Damage to property
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Injury to person
- Invasion of privacy
- False imprisonment
- Product liability
- Private nuisance
- Public nuisance
- Premise liability
- Professional malpractice
- Medical malpractice
Why does tort law exist?
Tort law exists for three main reasons: to compensate plaintiffs who have been injured by another person’s wrongful conduct, to punish those who engage in wrongful conduct, and to deter others from engaging in similar harmful conduct.
You can summarize that into three words: compensate, punish, and deter.
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So there you have it folks!
What does tort law mean?
In a nutshell, tort law is the body of laws concerned with providing remedies to individuals who suffered injuries as a result of another person’s civil wrongdoings.
For example, if a doctor does not perform the right operation on a patient leading to physical injuries, the patient may have legal recourse against the doctor for damages.
Tort laws can be classified into three categories: intentional torts, negligent torts, and strict liability.
Generally speaking, tort laws are designed to compensate individuals who have suffered an injury or incurred financial loss, punish those who have committed wrongful conduct, and deter others in society from engaging in similar behavior.
Now that you know what tort law means and how it works, good luck with your research!
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