The Basics of Tort Law

tort law in edmonton canada

The Basics of Tort Law

Tort law, also referred to as “personal injury law,” deals with civil wrongs that cause harm to individuals or damage to their property. For example, you might be able to sue the person or business if you’ve been injured. Continue reading to learn more about tort law and determine if you have a case.

What is Tort Law?

The law of unlawful injuries has been referred to as tort law. This is because the law protects and compensates people for negligence, recklessness, hurt, or intentional conduct of wrongdoers. And it is the legislation that defends and indemnifies persons who suffer injuries due to faulty or unsafe goods.

One of the basic tenets of the law is tort law. There are other smaller subdivisions of the law and other fundamental pillars, including contracts, real estate, and criminal law. But personal injuries are a focus of tort law. The word “tort” itself has Latin and French roots, both of which means “twisted” or “wrong.” Additionally, as tort law deals with wrongful harm to a person, the same idea still holds. For example, a tort violates someone else’s rights that causes them injury.

There are three primary tort lawsuits: claims based on intentional conduct, negligent or reckless acts, and claims based on strict liability. Tort lawsuits are the most common type of civil litigation and can include a broad spectrum of personal injury situations.

What Is a Tort Case Based On?

To succeed in a tort case, the plaintiff must show the following four things:


Duty is complex. Sometimes the obligation is spelled out in writing, as in the case of driving legislation. Therefore, stopping at a stop sign is a driver’s responsibility, and failing to do so violates that responsibility: other times, the obligation is shared from a common understanding of what constitutes reasonable care. For example, waving a golf club around on the course would be acceptable, but on a busy roadway would violate the duty to use proper care.

Breach of Duty

A breach of duty occurs when the perpetrator disregards what the obligation requires. This may be done on purpose, such as when someone intentionally strikes someone despite knowing it is wrong. It may also be negligent when a driver disregards a stop sign and proceeds.


The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions led to the plaintiff’s losses and injuries. It seems simple, doesn’t it? But what if someone already had a damaged back and was hurt in a car accident? How many of the injuries were brought on by the defendant, and how many were they already there?


Damages can refer to two different things:

Initially, for the harms and losses, the plaintiff endured as a result of the defendant. These may consist of:

  • Lost earnings in the past, present, or future
  • Pain
  • Suffering
  • Reduced enjoyment of life’s activities
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Fatalities.

Second is the amount of money the plaintiff obtained in settlement or was awarded by the jury to compensate for their losses and injuries.

In cases when the court wants to discourage future wrongdoing, it may also grant punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. For instance, a court may award punitive damages in a case against a manufacturer for an improperly made product to push the business to assure more meticulous production moving forward.

types of tort edmonton

Types of Torts and Examples

There are three fundamental categories of torts: 

Intentional torts

It was purposeful when the defendant knew they would hurt someone else. Both bodily injury and mental pain are examples of this. It can also be used in cases of deliberate property damage. Intentional torts include, for instance:


In terms of tort law, an attack is when someone threatens or tries to hurt someone else without actually touching them. Assault and battery, defined below, vary in that assault can occur without someone being touched.


While an assault involves a threat of violence, a battery is when that threat is carried out by making physical contact with the victim. The interaction could be hurtful or disrespectful. The battery is a crime that carries both civil and criminal penalties. Intention, contact, and harm—which can be either emotional or bodily—are the three components that must be present for the civil battery.

False Imprisonment

False incarceration occurs when someone restricts the freedom of movement of another individual. To have a claim, the plaintiff must establish willful and wrongful detention without consent. This can happen when someone holds hostages or makes an illegal citizen’s arrest. False incarceration may result from physical constraints, unjustified coercion, or duress.

Trespass to Land

When someone enters another person’s property on purpose, this happens. For example, kids who cut through a yard to get to school are subject to this rule. In such situations, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the trespass occurred without their consent. The fact that postal employees and police officers already have implicit permission to be on a property means that this does not apply to them. The majority of trespass cases that end up in court include property damage. However, the plaintiff may get an injunction if there is no damage and they merely want the trespassing to end.


When someone wants to recover the value of the property taken without consent, conversion occurs. It may be converted if sold, misused, damaged, altered, or not returned. Be aware that modification can apply to the gas in a lawnmower that a neighbour has illegally taken. This rule applies to physical property such as cars, bicycles, and gadgets.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

When the defendant misbehaves and upsets others, this occurs. Intentional infliction of mental distress can take the form of, among other things, threatening violence against someone or their loved ones or abandoning them in a hazardous situation and causing them great distress.

Negligent torts

While some torts are deliberate, most fall under the negligence category. A negligent tort involves damage brought on by behaviours like distracted driving, inaction, or reckless behaviour where a person breaches a responsibility given to another, as opposed to deliberate injury. To put it another way, the harm done to another person was unintended, yet it happened in a circumstance where the law recognizes a duty to make it right.

This includes many personal injuries, including auto accidents, medical negligence, and slip and fall injuries. The plaintiff must show a violation of the following four components of negligent torts to be entitled to damages:


Somehow, that obligation was broken. Therefore, one has violated their duty if they drive improperly and hit the plaintiff.

Breach of Duty

That duty was breached in some way. For example, if one fails to operate their car correctly and hits the plaintiff, they have been unable to complete their assignment.


The plaintiff must demonstrate that the duty violation was the direct cause of the incident that affected them or a loved one.


The plaintiff or a family member was hurt due to the incident.

Strict liability torts

The defendant is accountable in this case regardless of whether the purpose or duty was breached because the issue is crucial. Product responsibility is often covered under strict liability. Strict liability may apply to a tort injury in a few distinct ways. Product liability is one of the most frequent situations. Another is harm brought on by domestic or wild animals.

Product Liability Cases

Depending on where the problem originated, different parties may be held accountable if a defective product causes an injury. Additionally known as product liability. Strict responsibility may apply to the following entities:


  • Manufacturer
  • Packer
  • Seller

Strict responsibility is unlikely to apply in cases where the consumer modified the product after purchasing. For example, there is no strict liability if the customer tries to misuse the product when the owner’s handbook specifically instructs against doing so. Medical devices, drugs, food, consumer products, cars, and other objects are examples of things that this kind of case may cover.

Wild and Domestic Animal Cases

Any injury caused by wild creatures (such as lions, tigers, bears, etc.) that are kept must be paid for in full. Cats, dogs, birds, and other household animals occasionally escape and get loose, or their owners neglect them and let them roam freely. Strict liability holds the animal’s owner accountable if the animal enters another person’s property and the animal attacks them.

Some dog breeds are deemed “dangerous,” and their owners must take the appropriate precautions to keep them securely restrained. Domestic animal cases are subject to different laws depending on the state (and sometimes even the city), as some states have stricter regulations than others, particularly regarding dog breed limitations.

What is a Tort Lawyer?

An attorney who focuses on tort law cases is a tort lawyer. A large variety of case types fall under the umbrella of tort law, a civil law branch. Unlike most cases, tort attorneys experience situations that cross many legal disciplines.

A tort lawyer can research local laws and other applicable laws because tort laws might differ from state to state. If you might be qualified to receive compensation for an accident or loss, a tort lawyer can examine your claim and make that determination. A tort lawyer will assist you in obtaining the compensation you are entitled to, as the primary goal of tort law is to make up for the losses suffered by an injured party.


In sum, tort law is a system that allows people to seek compensation for losses suffered due to another person’s wrongful conduct. The specific rules and procedures involved can be complicated, but this overview should give you a general understanding of how tort law works. If you have been injured or have lost property due to someone else’s negligence, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Sidhu Personal Injury Lawyer Edmonton to discuss your legal options.

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