The ABCs of Tort Law
A tort is defined as a civil wrong committed against an individual or a legal entity such as a company or corporation. Tort is also considered a legal cause of action by which an individual can claim compensation through the legal system. Under the tort law each individual has certain interests which are protected by law. Its way of protection comes in the form of awarding monetary compensation termed as damage in exchange for the infringement of a protected interest. Some torts are also crimes punishable with imprisonment, but the primary aim of tort law is to provide relief from the damages suffered by the aggrieved party. The damages that the injured party is compensated for are loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and medical expenses resulting from the personal injury. The damages may also include present and future expected losses especially if the injury resulted in the inability of the victim to engage in future economic activities such as in the case of employees, athletes, or business persons. Tort law is a state law created through judges (common law) and by legislatures (statutory law).
Acts covered under Tort Law
Torts are generalized into three broad categories:
1. Intentional Torts
These are acts committed by the defendant which he knew or should have known would result to harm. Examples of intentional torts include battery and assault, trespassing, oral defamation and emotional distress. In the case of emotional distress, the offender has acted intentionally or recklessly and his conduct, which was extreme and outrageous, caused the victim to suffer severe emotional distress.
2. Negligent Torts
These include any unsafe action that resulted in personal injury. For example, a driver failed to obey traffic rules which caused accidents resulting in either loss of lives, damage to properties, or temporary or permanent loss of earning capacity including hospitalization expenses. If proven guilty under the court of law, reckless drivers may be penalized with imprisonment and be required to pay compensatory damage.
Most of the negligent acts are based on the principle of slip and fall situations which loosely cover motor vehicle accidents, injuries resulting from medical malpractice and even product liability cases.
Work related accidents can be compensated under negligent torts if it can be established that the management failed to provide safety measures for the employee. Safety measures can be in the form of providing a safe working environment, and procedures that includes safety signs, information or education drives, requiring the wearing of safety hats, safety harnesses, and other necessary safety equipment.
3. Strict Liability Torts
Strict liability torts are not dependent on the degree of carefulness exercised by the defendant, but are established when a particular action causes damages. This kind of tort is associated with defective products, damage caused by animals and hazardous activities, such as storing explosive or flammable liquids, blasting accumulated sewage and emitting toxic fumes. These hazardous activities can be liable for damages when done in unusual or abnormal ways and in a location that would exposed more people to greater risks. For example, storage of flammable or explosive liquids is considered more damaging when located in an urban area as compared to a rural area, and when safety precautions were not established.
Basis for the Liability for Torts
The victim should be able to prove the liabilities of the defendant in the court of law. In the case of intentional torts, the victim must be able to present proof that the defendant did the actions with malice or intent. If you are planning to claim compensation for personal injury, you will need to prove that:
the defendant should have the responsibility of duty or obligation towards the safety of others.
- The defendant has failed to perform his duty or responsibility.
- Because of the defendant’s failure, an injury occurred.
- The injury could have been avoided if the defendant had exercised care or did not violate traffic rules or professional practice and ethics.
For strict liability, proof should be presented that the product was defective, that the defect caused the injury and the defect has rendered the product unreasonably dangerous to users.
Course of Action
If you are suffering from a personal injury, you may not be physically and emotionally prepared to act on, or claim compensatory damages. You need an expert to help you in filing of a compensation claim. The best course of action would be to consult a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers are knowledgeable on tort law and its intricacies and complexities. A lawyer is the best person to guide you in the process of filing for damages. He will be your legal representative in the court of law and he will use all his experience and legal knowledge in order to provide you the best legal remedies and achieve what the tort law aims for, which is to help you claim compensation as a relief from the financial obligations brought about by the actions of another.
Christensen & Hymas have the best personal injury lawyers in Utah. These lawyers are just a phone call away and it would be a great relief for you to have excellent lawyers on your side. Call us now at (801) 506-0800 for a free consultation.
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