Tort law is a term that is often used in referring to personal injury law involving injury or unfair loss due to the actions of another person. In personal injury claims it is used for two reasons, the first is to compensate the victim for harm or loss and the second reason is to discourage the at-fault individual known as the defendant in a legal claim from repeating the similar acts.
There are three main classes of torts:
- Strict liability, which can include hazardous or dangerous products.
- Negligence, which is an unintentional act.
- Intentional acts, such as battery.
These categories of tort law are heard in a civil court, as they fall under civil law, rather than criminal law. In some situations the injury while falling under civil law such as a personal injury or loss, the individual may also face criminal charges because of illegal actions. This is not a common occurrence, since most personal harm or loss caused by the actions of another individual will fall under an unintentional act or negligence.
If the event causing injury was due to an assault, then criminal charges may be filed. The criminal charges will be heard in criminal court, but the personal injury claim will be heard in civil court. The most common type of tort law is negligence and the plaintiff/ victim will be required to prove the defendant was negligent in their actions, which caused the injury or loss. The types of claims that can fall under negligence in tort law include slip and fall accidents, wrongful death, product liability, intentional emotional distress, and assault and battery.
In tort action cases when the victim has proven their case will generally be financially compensated for medical costs, ongoing medical expenses, economic loss, pain and suffering, loss of wages and other damages. The plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages in some cases, which is a way to punish the defendant carelessness of their actions.
This type of compensation can often be more than the personal injury compensation awarded. This is a way for the court to dissuade the defendant from causing harm to others. The court may also require the defendant by injunction to ensure the safety of the public.