What Are the Types of Torts?

Types of Torts | Mass Tort Information

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What Are the Types of Torts?

If you're interested in tort law, you've likely been the victim of a wrongful injury. Tort law is commonly known to be the law that defends people who have been wrongfully injured due to negligence, disregard, and it protects those that have been intentionally injured by the acts of wrongdoers.  
Tort law is considered one of the cornerstones of law. The others are contracts, real property, and criminal law. The goal of tort law is to be the means of injured parties getting financial relief from the parties that harmed them by imposing liability for their injurious acts.  
So, what are the types of torts? Torts have three general divisions: Intentional, negligent, and strict liability. But let’s understand what a tort is first. 

What is a tort in simple terms?  

When someone is injured by a wrongful act or omission (a tort), the courts can impose legal liability to the wrongdoer as it’s considered a civil wrong. A tort can also be an infringement of privacy, intentionally causing emotional distress and a wrongful act that results in financial loss, among other things. 
Common law and state statutory laws govern the boundaries of tort law, allowing judges a wide berth when it comes to which actions conform to being a civil wrong, defenses the defendant can claim, and the amount of compensation to award the injured.  

What is a tort case?  

Tort law decides if a person or entity should be held legally liable for your injuries and the compensation you should receive. Taking on a tort case requires proving duty, breach of duty, causation, and the resulting damage. All these elements must be substantiated to make a strong case for you as the plaintiff against the defendant. Tort lawsuits make up a large majority of civil lawsuits.  

What is a tort claim?  

In a nutshell, it's a claim for the damages you've suffered. But a tort claim goes beyond accident benefits and insurance claims. The payouts mentioned above are limited and don't cover the non-economic damages you may have endured. 
Non-economic damages are things like pain and suffering or anything else that inhibits your ability to enjoy life due to the negligent actions of another. You can also seek compensation for loss of income, rehabilitation and medical services, caregiving, and any other ongoing expenses you may incur in the future.  

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Types of Torts FAQs

  • What are the 3 types of torts?

    The 3 types of torts that can justify a civil lawsuit are intentional, negligence, and strict liability. The facets of each tort are different, but how the case is fought in the courtroom is generally the same. 
    Negligence is the most common type of tort case as it doesn't concern any intentional misdeeds by the wrongdoer. Rather their deeds were careless, resulting in your injury. But let's take a deeper dive to answer what are the 3 types of torts by examining each one.   

  • What are intentional torts?  

    As the name implies, the act of wrongdoing against an individual with intent. Determining whether the tort was intentional requires uncovering the mindset of the person committing the tort during the action. 
    Some intentional torts can be criminal in nature, such as assault, false imprisonment, and battery. However, the goal of a tort claim is to punish the offender monetarily. The government handles the crime aspect of the offense as it's a crime against society, but that doesn't exclude you from getting compensated for your personal injuries. 

    Intentional tort real-life examples   

    Assault – A person known to be a hothead physically threatens you by drawing back their fist, causing you to fall backward and get injured. 
    Battery – Often synonymous with assault, battery is the actual act of physically striking a person. For example, the hothead mentioned previously actually hits you resulting in injury.  
    False imprisonment - A nurse forced you to take medication against your will.  
    Conversion - A person takes or withholds your personal property without validation of the law.  
    Intentional infliction of emotional distress - As a practical joke, someone threatens to expose nude pictures they say they have of you to your family, friends, and colleagues resulting in nervous shock and illness. 
    Fraud/deceit - You’re a well-known antique dealer and bought an expensive antique for a client that was fraudulently represented as an original and turned out to be a clever reproduction resulting in damage to your professional reputation.  
    Trespass (to land and property) - Someone visits your home. When they leave, they mistakenly take your laptop instead of their own, resulting in you losing a big client because you didn't have access to your computer.  
    Defamation – A coworker spreads lies about you via a corporate Zoom meeting resulting in harm to your reputation at work.  

  • What is a negligent tort?  

    Being part of civilized society requires that individuals follow the basic codes of conduct that ensure others do not come to harm from their actions or inactions. When an individual fails to adhere to the codes of conduct, that can be called negligence. It's basically when someone doesn't take the reasonable care that is expected of others in similar circumstances.There are four elements of negligence that need to be proven under the law to win a civil suit. 
    The first is the Duty of Care. Your attorney must prove the defendant had a duty of care to act, which means they needed to exercise good sense. Duty of care is one of the more straightforward elements since our society already has established laws that define this sort of negligence. For example, we all must follow traffic laws.  
    The next element is Breach of Duty. Once your attorney establishes the defendant had a duty of care towards you, they now need to prove that duty was disregarded. For example, they did not follow established traffic laws resulting in your injury.
    Causation is the next element. It must be proven that the wrongdoer's actions had a distinct and direct impact on you suffering an injury.   
    The final element is Damages. Damages are often the most challenging part of litigation. Your lawyer must not only lay out all the different harm you've suffered but also assign a dollar amount to your injuries. To achieve this requires lots of evidence. Things such as medical bills and lost wages, and even expert testimony to explain how your injuries will impact your ability to work and enjoy life can be required to prove damages.

    Negligent tort real-life examples  

    Car accident – A negligent driver misses a school bus stop sign and hits your child. 
    Slip and fall – A spill in a grocery store is not cleaned up quickly enough and it results in you slipping and injuring your knees.
    Brain injury – An improperly secured load comes loose from a truck and hits you on your head while walking along a public sidewalk.
    Cycling accident – You are injured because a motorist did not check before merging lanes. 
    ATV accident – Your neighbor allowed your minor child with no experience riding to operate their ATV and your child was injured.
    Dog bite – A dog owner has a dog that is known to bite and lets the dog off-leash in a public park, and it bites you.

  • What is strict liability tort?  

    Strict liability means liability without fault. In these cases, it is not a requirement to prove fault or misconduct by the defendant. Strict liability usually applies to three different types of cases: injury by wild animals or domesticated animal bites, dangerous activities, and product defects that result in injury.  
    Product defect cases are easier to prove since most states already have harsh tort liability for defectively manufactured products. Your lawyer will need to identify the defect, prove that the defect resulted in harm and that the defective product was unreasonably dangerous.
    In many states, there is a distinction between wild and domesticated animals in the eyes of the law. However, people that choose to have pets must keep them under reasonable control. 
    Depending on your state or jurisdiction, the owner of a dog that wanders into someone else's yard and causes an injury could be held liable whether they knew the dog would attack or not. In other states, a pet owner would only be liable if they knew the dog would likely attack others.  
    In an altercation involving injury caused by a wild animal, the wild animal owner can be held strictly liable even if there is no foreknowledge the animal could be a danger to others.  
    Finally, strict liability is enforced when a person creates abnormally dangerous circumstances or engages in ultrahazardous activities that result in your injury. Abnormally dangerous activities are activities known to be fundamentally dangerous such as working with or storing explosives.  

    Strict liability tort real-life examples 

    Attack by a wild animal – You visit a private zoo. One of the animals was not properly secured, and you are injured in an attack.  
    Bullet ricochet – You're at a firing range and are struck by a stray bullet.  
    Design defect – You buy a trendy new 3-legged chair, but the design causes you to tip over while sitting, and you sustain injuries. 
    Manufacturing defect – A batch of vitamins you purchased is contaminated with a poisonous chemical. You become sick as a result.
    Researching answers to what are the 3 types of torts is not so simple since many different variables can impact a personal injury lawsuit. The best way to understand if you have a valid case is to contact a personal injury lawyer.

  • Why choose Morgan & Morgan for your tort lawsuit?  

    We've won over $20 billion for our clients during our 30+ years of experience. We offer free case evaluations, and our services are free unless you win your case! That's how confident we are in our abilities to sue for a tort action. 
    We are convinced that every person has a right to first-rate legal counsel no matter what their income level. In fact, that is one of the pillars behind the founding of Morgan & Morgan. John Morgan began his legal career because of his family's own experience fighting a wrongful injury case with the wrong kind of lawyer against a defendant with deep pockets.
    We have over 1,000 trial-ready lawyers ready to fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve for your wrongful injury. Just contact us today, and let's get started making things right again for you and yours. 

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