What is a tort?


A tort is an intentional or unintentional act of wrongdoing which results in an injury to another person or a damage to another person's property. The harmed person or owner of damaged property has the right to sue the responsible party for damages and receive compensation.

There is a difference between a tort and a crime: when a crime is committed, the defendant is prosecuted by the federal government, while a tort is a person-to-person relationship and as such, it is object of civil law. The party which has incurred losses has the right to file a legal claim against the defendant, also commonly referred to as tortfeasor, and be compensated for their losses.

Types of Torts

There are three categories of torts:

  • Intentional wrongdoing applies to situations in which another person is injured or another person's property is damaged as a result of a deliberate act or inaction. Common intentional torts include fraud, slander, libel, assault, trespass, copyright violations, etc. Liability insurance typically does not protect an insured against liability for intentional wrongdoing.
  • Negligence is another name by which unintentional torts are known. Negligence is the major object of liability insurance, meaning that people covered under a liability policy, are protected against liability that might arise out of their negligence. In order for someone to be found negligent, they need to have failed to satisfy the required standard of care that exists by law for the protection of other people from inadmissible risks.
  • Strict, or absolute liability, applies to actions involving especially hazardous operations, such as blasting, owning dangerous animals, manufacturing explosives or defective products, etc. Even if harm is not caused deliberately or as a result of negligence, the act is considered a tort and the tortfeasor will still be held liable for being in charge.
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