What Is A Tort Claim?

Regarding legal matters, the term “tort claim” might sound complex and intimidating to many. However, understanding a tort claim can be important regarding personal injuries, property damage, and civil wrongs. For those asking, “what is a tort claim?” this blog is for you. 

Defining Tort Claims

Tort law is often referred to as the law of wrongful injuries. It serves as a vital pillar of the legal system. The term “tort” has French and Latin origins, signifying “twisted” or wrong. In the context of tort law, it pertains to wrongful injuries resulting from invading someone’s rights. It revolves around protecting and compensating individuals who suffer due to the negligence, recklessness, or deliberate actions of others. This legal framework also protects those injured by unsafe or defective products. This law stands alongside other main pillars, such as contracts, real property, and criminal law. However, its primary focus is on injuries to individuals. At its core, a tort involves a wrongful injury to an individual, constituting an infringement upon their rights and causing harm. tort claim

Types of Tort Claims

Not all intentional injuries are wrongful. For example, a surgeon can knowingly and intentionally injure a patient through a procedure like amputation, provided it is done correctly, with consent, and for the right medical reasons. In tort law, wrongfulness does not always equate to fault. Strict (non-fault) liability exists, particularly in cases involving defective products and abnormally dangerous activities. This means that even if the defendant has committed no wrong, they may still be liable for harm. Tort lawsuits constitute the largest category of civil litigation. It covers a broad spectrum of personal injury cases. However, they can be comprehensively categorized into three main types:

Negligence

Negligence is the most common type of tort claim. It happens when someone fails to exercise reasonable care, harming another person or their property. To establish a negligence claim, the following elements must be proven:
Duty The accused person owed a duty of care to the complainant.
Breach of Duty The accused breached that duty through their actions or inactions.
Causation The accused person’s breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff’s harm.
Damages The plaintiff suffered measurable harm or losses.

Intentional Torts

Intentional torts involve deliberate actions that cause harm to another person or their property. Examples include assault, battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Assault The intentional act that causes a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact.
Battery Intentional harmful or offensive approach with another person.
False Imprisonment The intentional restriction of another person’s freedom of movement.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Deliberate actions causing severe emotional distress.

Strict Liability

Strict liability torts don’t require proving negligence or intent. Instead, liability is imposed regardless of fault when engaging in certain inherently dangerous activities. Examples include keeping wild animals or engaging in ultra-hazardous activities.

Elements of a Tort Claim

Certain elements are essential for establishing a tort claim, whether you’re dealing with negligence, intentional torts, or strict liability. Let’s break them down:

Duty of Care

The duty of care is a legally imperative duty to act reasonably and avoid harm to others. The level of care required depends on the specific situations and the relationship between the parties. Example: A driver must operate their vehicle safely and follow traffic laws.

Breach of Duty

A breach of duty occurs when one person fails to accommodate the standard of care required. It could involve actions that are careless, reckless, or intentional. Example: A store owner neglects to clean up a spill, leading to a customer slipping and getting injured.

Causation

Causation establishes a direct link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s harm. There are two types of causation:
Actual Cause The defendant’s actions were a factual cause of the harm.
Proximate Cause The harm was a foreseeable result of the accused person’s actions.
Example: The failure to repair a broken railing leads to a person falling and sustaining injuries.

Damages

For a tort claim to be valid, the plaintiff must have suffered actual harm or measurable losses. Damages can be economic (financial losses) or non-economic (pain and suffering). The term “damages” refers to two main things:

Injuries and Losses

Damages represent the harm suffered by the person filing the case (plaintiff) due to the actions of the person being sued (defendant). This includes lost income, pain, suffering, reduced enjoyment of life’s activities, scarring, disfigurement, and even loss of life.

Compensation

Damages also refer to the money awarded by a jury or received in a settlement to compensate for the injuries and losses suffered by the plaintiff. This financial compensation aims to restore the plaintiff to a similar position before the harm occurred. The court may also grant punitive and compensatory damages when it wants to discourage future wrongdoing. For instance, if a manufacturer is sued for a defectively produced item, the court might award punitive damages to push the manufacturer to be more careful in their future production processes.

Common Tort Claims

Tort claims can arise in various situations, and some of the most common scenarios include:

Personal Injury

Personal injury claims involve harm caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. Typical personal injury cases include car accidents, slip and fall incidents, and medical malpractice. Example: A distracted driver hit a pedestrian while crossing the street.

Product Liability

Product liability claims are bound to happen when a damaged or dangerous product causes harm to a consumer. This can include design defects, manufacturing defects, or inadequate warnings. Example: A malfunctioning kitchen appliance causing injuries to the user.

Premises Liability

Premises liability claims involve injuries on someone else’s property due to the owner’s negligence. This claim can include slip and fall accidents, inadequate security leading to assaults, or dangerous conditions. Example: A customer slipping on a wet floor in a grocery store.

Defamation

Defamation claims involve false statements that harm a person’s reputation. This can include slander (spoken defamation) or libel (written defamation). Example: Spreading false rumours about someone’s professional conduct.

Filing a Tort Claim

If you believe you have a valid and strong tort claim, take the following steps:

Consult with an Attorney

Seek legal advice to understand the strength of your case and potential compensation. Many personal injury attorneys offer free consultations.

Gather Evidence

Collect evidence to responsibly support your claim, including medical records, photographs, witness statements, and relevant documents.

Statute of Limitations

Be aware of the statute of limitations and the time limit within which you must file your tort claim. Missing this timeline may result in losing your right to seek compensation. tort claim

Seek Professional Service With a Reliable Edmonton Lawyer

Understanding a tort claim and its various elements is essential for anyone navigating the complex world of personal injury law. If you’ve been injured due to someone’s negligence, intentional actions, or strict liability, being informed empowers you to take the necessary steps to seek justice and compensation. Remember, consulting with a qualified Edmonton lawyer is always a prudent move to ensure the best possible outcome for your tort claim. Seek help from Sidhu Personal Injury Lawyers Edmonton to learn more about a Tort claim and help you get through it. Contact us today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tort law and criminal law differ in their nature and consequences. Tort law deals with civil cases and resolving individual disputes, while criminal law is a government branch representing society against the accused. In criminal cases, convictions may lead to imprisonment or even execution. 

In contrast, tort cases focus on compensating the injured party with monetary remedies for their losses. An example is the 2016 case between Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media, where Hogan sued Gawker for intentional torts related to invasion of privacy and emotional distress. The court awarded Hogan $140 million in compensation. 

Unlike criminal cases, tort cases primarily seek financial redress rather than imprisonment. Occasionally, tort cases may also involve injunctive relief, directing the wrongdoer to cease their actions. Understanding these distinctions helps navigate the legal landscape and grasp the diverse purposes of tort and criminal law.

Yes, businesses can be held liable for tort claims. They owe a duty of care to buyers, employees, and the public. Product liability, premises liability, and negligence are common bases for tort claims against businesses.

While handling a tort claim without an attorney is possible, having legal representation is advisable. Attorneys can navigate complex legal processes, gather evidence, negotiate with opposing parties, and ensure the best possible outcome for the claimant.

Tort claims involve seeking compensation directly from the party responsible for the harm, while insurance claims involve seeking compensation from an insurance company. Depending on the policy and circumstances, insurance may cover some or all of the damages arising from a tort claim.

Share this:
CONTACT US

We’re not around right now. But you can send us an email and we’ll get back to you, asap.