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What Is a Tort Claim?
Everything You Need to Know

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Most personal injury cases are the result of a tort. This is when someone does something careless or doesn’t do something they’re supposed to, resulting in another person getting hurt. You have the right to start legal proceedings and get compensated for what happened.

Over the past decade that I’ve worked for Schmidt & Clark, the vast majority of personal injury cases I have handled have been called tort claims. In this article, I will explain a tort and how it applies to personal injury cases.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • To prove that someone was negligent and caused an injury, you need to have evidence of the damages 
  • Compensatory damages are the most common type of damage awarded in a tort claim
  • After a duty of care has been breached, you must be able to prove that the breach was the direct cause of your injuries

What Is a Tort Claim?

A person doing paperwork while in front of a computer and using a phone

A tort claim is a lawsuit you file to get money for your injuries in an accident. This money is different from what you would get from an insurance company. It is also known as a civil wrong [1].

There are various types o tort claims. These include:

  • Product liability
  • Battery and assault
  • Inducement of contract
  • Public and private nuisances
  • Multiple types of negligence
  • False imprisonment

Claims against federal employees or agencies must also be filed and followed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) in order to continue with a courtroom case.

Examples of Tort Cases

A biker that fell outside on the pavement in a park

Many tort claim examples can help you understand how tort law works. In the list below, we are providing examples of some common personal injury claims.

Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list; there are many more types of tort claims. Based on my legal experience, these examples show how tort law applies to real-world accidents.

See all related personal injury and accident lawsuits our lawyers have taken on.

4 Characteristics of a Tort Law

A close up shot of a whole gavel

To win a civil lawsuit, you must prove that four things happened.

1. Duty of Care

As a citizen, it is your responsibility to be aware of your actions when in public. This means being mindful of how your actions may affect those around you and make sure to act responsibly [2].

2. Breach of Duty

When you fail to uphold the duty of care, it is considered a breach of duty. A breach can be either intentional or unintentional. If your actions were intentional, it is regarded as an intentional tort. If your actions were unintentional, it is considered an accidental tort.

When driving a car, you have a duty of care to your passengers and other drivers. This means that you must be aware of what is happening around you and drive safely. You can be sued for negligence if you do not meet this standard and cause an accident that injures someone [3].

3. Causation of Injury

After a duty of care has been breached, you must be able to prove that the breach was the direct cause of your injuries.

4. Damage or Injury 

You need to have evidence of the damages to prove that someone was negligent and caused an injury. If there is no proof, then the accused cannot be held responsible.

The burden of proof is on the claimant to show that he or she incurred an injury. You must present medical records or other evidence to support your claim.

3 Types of Tort Claims

A person doing writing on paper with a pen

There are three main types of tort claims: negligence, strict liability, and intentional torts.

1. Negligent Torts

A negligent tort is the most common type of tort claim. To win a negligence case, you must prove that the accused person owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused your injuries [4].

2. Strict Liability Torts

Strict liability is when a person can be held liable for your personal injury even if they did not do anything wrong. This usually applies when a dangerous activity or product is involved.

3. Intentional Torts 

Intentional Torts are when the accused person intended to harm you. This is different from negligence, which only requires that the accused person did something that resulted in your harm.

An example of an intentional tort is assault. Assault occurs when someone makes you afraid that they will touch you in a harmful or offensive way. The battery is defined as touching someone without permission in a harmful or offensive way.

“Tort law not only allows for compensation of victims to be made whole, it means disclosure of the wrongdoing and deterrence of malicious or negligent acts. A jury verdict can be heard around the country or even the world, resulting in a change or halt to unsafe practices.”– Jeannie Brandstetter, Director of Communications of Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys

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What Damages Can You Seek In A Tort Claim? 

A person signing papers

There are three main types of damages that you can seek in a tort claim: compensatory damages, punitive damages, and emotional distress damages.

In my experience, insurance claims are limited in scope, however, a tort claim allows the damaged parties to seek compensation for the real loss and the suffering they have undergone. 

1. Compensatory damages

Compensatory damages are the most common type of damage awarded in a tort claim. This is when the court awards you an amount of money meant to compensate you for your losses.

2. Punitive damages

Punitive damages are meant to punish the accused person for their actions. They are only awarded in cases of gross negligence or intentional misconduct that lead to a serious injury.

3. Emotional distress damages

Emotional distress damages are when you suffer from mental anguish because of the accused person’s actions.

FAQs

Is Tort a Civil Case?

Yes, a Tort is a type of civil case. A tort is when someone wrongfully causes you harm, and you sue them to get compensation for your injuries.

Where Can Tort Laws Be Found?

Tort laws can be found in the civil code of most countries. In the United States, tort law is found in state statutes and common law.

Is a tort claim the same as a lawsuit?

Yes, a tort claim is the same as a lawsuit. A tort claim is when you sue someone for harming you.

Should You File a Tort Claim?

If someone has harmed you and you want compensation for your injuries, you should file a tort claim with a personal injury lawyer. 

With years of experience in criminal law and handling individual injury cases, our legal team at Schmidt & Clark can help you with your tort claim. Give us a call today to speak with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers in a free consultation session.


References:

  1.  https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/tort
  2.  https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/duty_of_care
  3.  https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/negligence
  4.  https://nationalparalegal.edu/FundamentalsTortLaw.aspx

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