What is a Tort?
A tort is a legal wrong that someone commits against another person. Torts are not criminal offenses, but they allow the injured party to file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation, also known as damages, for the harm caused. Torts are often seen in personal injury cases where the defendant is being sued for medical bills, income losses, and more. There are three main types of torts: intentional torts, negligence, and strict liability torts.
Civil lawsuits based on torts can be filed in either state or federal court, although most tort cases are handled in state court. An experienced litigator will be familiar with the procedural rules in both state and federal court and can advise you on where to file your lawsuit. Our law firm is available to you when faced with the possibility of legal action. Call Resolvere Law PLLC today at (480) 568-1327 to learn more about our services and how we can help you.
Intentional torts are those in which the defendant’s actions are intentional, meaning that they knew or should have known that their actions would result in harm to the plaintiff. The most common intentional tort is battery, which is defined as any offensive or harmful contact with another person. Other intentional torts include assault, false imprisonment, defamation, and invasion of privacy.
When deciding whether to file a lawsuit based on an intentional tort, it is important to consider the severity of the harm suffered and the likelihood of success in court. An experienced attorney can help you evaluate your case and decide whether it is worth pursuing.
Below are some specific examples of intentional torts:
Assault is defined as the attempt or the threat to harm someone else. Assault is different from battery because it means that the accused never touched the victim. However, the victim may still experience emotional distress due to the threats or attempts.
Battery happens when someone physically attacks another person. The contact can be offensive or harmful. Anyone who commits battery can face civil and criminal charges. However, for civil battery, the attack must contain intent, contact, and harm, either emotional or physical.
False imprisonment happens when someone restricts another person’s ability to move freely. This can include hostage situations or a case of unlawful or invalid citizen’s arrest. False imprisonment can be physical or through coercion.
When someone wants to regain the value of a piece of property that was stolen and cannot be returned, then there are grounds for a conversion tort. The property may be sold, altered, or damaged irrecoverably. Conversion applies to physical property, like bicycles, motor vehicles, or electronics.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
The other party can sue if someone acts outrageously and causes emotional distress. For instance, if someone threatens violence against their loved ones or intentionally strands them in a dangerous place, it could be seen as an intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Trespass to Land
When someone intentionally enters someone else’s property without permission, it is a trespass to land. This could be as simple as a neighbor stepping into your yard or pedestrians using your path as a shortcut. In such cases, the plaintiff must prove that the trespass happened without their explicit permission. It’s important to note that people with implied consent to be on the property, like postal workers, cannot be accused of trespass to land.
Negligence is the most common type of tort. It occurs when the defendant fails to exercise the care that a reasonable person would under the circumstances, and as a result, the plaintiff suffers damages. It’s possible for the harm to have happened unintentionally, but it can result in a situation where the court recognizes an obligation to make it right. Common negligent torts include distracted driving, careless actions, or failure to act.
To succeed in a negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
- Duty is the legal obligation to exercise care to avoid harming others.
- A breach occurs when the defendant fails to meet the standard of care expected under the circumstances.
- Causation means that the breach was a cause of the plaintiff’s damages.
- Damages are actual losses suffered by the plaintiff due to the defendant’s negligence.
Strict Liability Torts
Strict liability torts do not require proof of negligence; instead, liability attaches to the defendant’s actions. The most common strict liability tort is product liability, which occurs when a defective product causes injury to its user. In product liability cases, several entities can be held liable for injuries from a defective product. This includes the packer, the seller, and the manufacturer. However, if the consumer modified the product in any way after purchasing, then strict liability would not apply.
For instance, if a lawn mower was made with a defect that caused injury, then that is a product liability. But if the consumer were misusing the lawnmower or using it for activities other than its intended use, strict liability would not apply. Other examples of strict liability torts include dog bites and some types of environmental pollution.
Should I Hire an Attorney for a Personal Injury Case?
Torts can be complex, and the law varies from state to state. If you have been injured by another person’s actions, it is essential to consult with an experienced attorney to examine your case and determine if it falls under tort law. Get the legal help you need by calling our firm today at (480) 568-1327. Our knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your rights and options under the law and pursue the compensation you deserve.