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Understanding the Law on Torts

A tort refers to a wrongful act committed against a person and causing them injury. The injured person can seek compensation from the one who injured them. Tort law sets out the rules concerning whether one can be held liable for injuring another person, and the kind of compensation that an injured party can recover. The party who is injured by a wrongful act is called the claimant or plaintiff. The party who commits the injurious act is called the tortfeasor. The lawsuit or legal action taken against the tortfeasor is known as a tort action. The following seeks to discuss the types of torts, and how tort law affects one’s ability to sue another person or company.

Types of Torts

The main types of torts are negligence, intentional torts, and economic torts.

Negligence

Negligence is a tort arising when a person breaches their duty of care towards another person. All people are required to follow a certain basic pro-social code of conduct and the public is expected to act in a certain way to minimize the risk of harming others. A claim of negligence can only be made if a plaintiff can prove their injuries and link them to the defendant’s actions. This is called the proximate cause. There is a time limit for filing a negligence claim; however, a plaintiff can be excused from these statutory limitations by factors such as continuing negligence and discovery.

When Can One Make a Claim of Negligence?

The elements that your personal injury lawyer has to prove to succeed in a claim of negligence are:

  • Duty of care: The defendant owes the claimant the duty of care
  • Breach of duty of care: A defendant breaches their duty of care
  • Proximate cause: The defendant’s actions caused the injury
  • Damages: The plaintiff sustained damages due to the defendant’s violation of their duty of care

Intentional Torts

Intentional torts are classified as intentional acts that can reasonably be foreseen to cause injury to a person, and that actually do so. There are several subcategories of intentional torts: Torts against a person and property torts. Torts against a person include battery, assault, fraud, false imprisonment. Property torts include conversion, trespass to personal property and trespass to land.

What is Required to Make a Claim of Intentional Tort?

A plaintiff has to prove intent and causation. In many cases, there is transferred intent. This arises when the defendant’s initial intention is to harm an individual but they end up injuring another person. This also is enough to show intent. Causation can be proven if the defendant played a major role in causing the injuries or harm.

Economic/Business Torts

Economic torts involve commercial transactions. These include fraud, negligent misrepresentation, injurious falsehood, and interference with contract or trade. If a business can show that their reasonable expectation of commerce is affected by another party’s offense, they can bring suit.

What is Required to Make a Claim of Economic Tort

In order to sue for an economic tort, your personal injury lawyer must show that the defendant’s actions were intentional and that their actions harmed the claimant by causing them economic losses.

Infant immunity involves minors who are too young to understand the outcome of their deeds. For infant immunity to hold, the minor should not have any intention of causing harm. However, a minor cannot claim they do not understand their actions if they had an intention to cause negative consequences. In some cases, the guardians or parents of the minor may be held responsible for their actions even when the minor does not comprehend the outcome of their actions.

Insanity immunity is used as a defense when the defendant is deemed to be insane or mentally unable to understand the outcome of their actions. In some cases, the caregiver of the insane person may be held responsible for their actions.

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