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Tort Law



A tort is a civil wrong, not involving a breach of contract, that caused a plaintiff to suffer harm. Tort law is concerned with relationships between members of society. A tort is brought by the injured person instead of the government. Common torts are categorized as negligence, strict liability, or intentional. The plaintiff has the burden to prove their tort case by a preponderance of the evidence. Torts also happen in business and include injurious falsehood, nuisance, product liability, interference with contractual relations, interference with prospective advantage, and harm to economic and dignitary interests. Intentional torts can also lead to criminal prosecution.

At A Glance

  • Torts are civil wrongs that do not involve a breach of contract and that are brought by individuals rather than the government. The burden of proof in many tort cases is by a preponderance of the evidence, which the plaintiff has the burden of proving. A preponderance of the evidence is a balance of probabilities and is a lesser burden than "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is the burden of proof in criminal cases.
  • Tort law imposes certain obligations on every person in society and provides a way to set things right when a person is wronged. Tort law has three main categories: negligence, strict liability, and intentional.
  • Tort cases often involve damages awarded to the plaintiff. There are three types of damages in these cases: compensatory, nominal, and punitive damages.
  • Intentional torts are types of civil wrongs that are considered to be done with a purposeful state of mind. These include battery, false imprisonment, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.
  • Many intentional torts are also criminal acts. Individuals bring claims for intentional torts, and the government prosecutes crimes. Generally, intentional torts have a money penalty. Criminal prosecution may result in imprisonment, fines, and other forms of punishment under criminal law.
  • Torts of economic relations are intentional torts that come from direct interference with a person's business agreement, relationship, or prospect and that cause a quantifiable loss. Torts of economic relations that impact business have three categories: injurious falsehood, interference with contractual relations, and interference with prospective advantage.
  • Several defenses are available for intentional torts, including self-defense, the defense of others, defense of property, consent, and necessity.
  • A bailment happens when a person delivers personal property to another person for a specific purpose. The types of duties created by the bailment depend on whether the bailment was created for the benefit of the bailor, bailee, or both.
  • Three elements must be satisfied to create a valid bailment. The property must be the personal property of the owner (bailee), a nonowner (bailor) has exclusive control of it and knowingly receives delivery and possession of the property, and the arrangement is in writing if it is to last more than a year.