Have you ever been involved in an accident caused by another party? Or, has someone ever damaged your property?
If yes, there’s every reason you need to learn more about tort law. Basically, it’s civil law that protects people from bad acts by others. The purpose of the law is to charge those who are liable and to ensure victims are satisfactorily compensated.
In this post, we’re going to cover more on this area of law. So, if you get injured as a result of someone else’s fault, you’ll know exactly what to do.
Keep on reading!
Types of Tort Cases
Tort cases fall into three different categories. It’s essential to understand them, particularly when you’re working with a lawyer. They include:
In some cases, a person may get injured due to the carelessness of another person. This is what is referred to as negligence. It’s a concept that forms the legal basis for most tort cases, such as car accidents, slips and falls, falling objects and medical malpractice.
In negligence cases, your and your lawyer must prove beyond doubt that the defendant was negligent.
This is a case that occurs as a result of deliberate or purposeful acts by another person or party. In such cases, the state of mind of the tortfeasor (the person who commits the act) helps to determine if the act was on purpose.
Some examples of intentional torts include fraud, battery, assault, slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment.
In strict liability, the situation is pretty different from negligence cases and intentional torts. Basically, the focus in on the act itself, and not the culpability of the defendants.
A great example is when a company produces defective products. When the product affects a customer, they basically have to prove that they were harmed or injured by the product. In this case, the manufacturer will be liable.
How Tort Cases Are Handled
Inasmuch there is tort law, there are no definitive guidelines for giving verdicts. For example, every state has different laws regarding tort cases, and you must understand your state’s statute of limitations. Such limitations provide a specific amount of time for filing cases after your injury.
The court’s verdict or the given compensation amount is usually reached by referencing past cases and rulings. Tort cases are usually governed by what is called “common law.” This means that rules for such cases have evolved and are still evolving.
As such, working with a civil lawyer who can draw vital points from past rulings, especially those by the court of appeal, can help you during the case.
Remedies in Tort Cases
According to the law, torts are civil wrongs, so plaintiffs have every right to get compensation for their losses, injuries, and damages.
The aim of a tort lawsuit can be to earn compensation, pursue injunction or both. In some cases, the court will award both punitive and compensatory damages to deter such activities or misconduct.
In the majority of the cases, however, plaintiffs usually pursue compensation, and that’s what most courts award. The compensation amount will be determined by several factors, including:
- The plaintiff’s loss of earnings
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
Basically, the court’s decision will consider the incurred costs as well as expected expenses. Punitive damages will only be awarded if the court feels the need to prevent similar misconducts or acts in the future.
Distinguishing Torts from Typical Crimes
You also need to know that tort cases are not quite the same as crimes.
In tort cases, the focus is usually to compensate the victims rather than to punish the defendant. On the other hand, criminal liability’s purpose is to enforce public justice.
However, certain acts provide a basis for both criminal liability and torts. For example, in negligence cases, acts or misconducts that endanger the lives of many people can be treated as crime and tort.
Also, some acts are punishable under both tort law and criminal law. A good example is battery. In such a case, tort law will award monetary compensation to the plaintiff and criminal law will incarcerate the defendant.
Typically, if you have a tort case, your lawyer will advise you on all the essential elements of the law that apply to it.
Working with Lawyers
Unlike criminal cases, tort cases can last for years, particularly when they advance to trial. As such, it’s usually advisable to hire a lawyer to represent your interests and fight for your rights.
There are different types of torts, so you can expect to find different types of lawyers, too. It’s advisable to work with a lawyer who specializes in the type of tort you have.
A lot of cases fall under the “personal injury” umbrella. But you need to know that a medical malpractice lawyer won’t be the right professional for a product liability case.
When you hire a lawyer, be sure to provide all the essential information about the case. Also, it’s vital to note that not all lawyers will accept your case. Most of them will first want to have initial consultations and investigations to determine the viability of your case.
Tort Law – Final Thoughts
Well, at this point, you know what tort cases are and how the law defines them. If you or your loved one gets injured by another party, you know how to proceed with the case.
Keep in mind that some cases can take months or even years to be resolved. However, up to 90 percent of tort cases usually get resolved pre-trial. Your lawyer can negotiate with the accused party to close the case without going to trial.
If you have any questions about tort law, be sure to reach out to us.