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Date Modified: April 5, 2023

What Is A Personal Injury Under Tort Law?

A personal injury refers to any physical or psychological harm or damage suffered by an individual as a result of the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another person, company, or entity. Acts, omissions, and ignorance can all form the basis of tort liability. Personal injuries can occur in a wide variety of situations and can range from minor injuries to severe injuries or even fatalities.

Some common examples of personal injuries include:

  1. Motor vehicle accidents: This can include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, bus accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents caused by the negligence of another driver or from poor roads, etc.
  2. Cruise ship accidents: A cruise ship accident refers to any unexpected event or incident that occurs onboard a cruise ship that results in injury, property damage, or other losses, even while on a shore excursions.
  3. Slip and fall accidents: This can occur on someone else’s property, such as a store, restaurant, or public place, due to dangerous or hazardous conditions that the property owner failed to address.
  4. Product liability: This can occur when a defective or dangerous product causes injury or harm to a consumer, such as a faulty vehicle part, a defective drug, or a defective consumer product.
  5. Workplace accidents: This can occur in various work settings, such as construction sites, factories, or offices, due to unsafe working conditions, inadequate training, or employer negligence.
  6. Dog bites can occur when a dog attacks and injures a person due to the owner’s negligence or failure to control their pet.
  7. Medical malpractice: This can occur when a healthcare provider, such as a doctor, nurse, or hospital, fails to provide the appropriate standard of care, resulting in injury or harm to the patient.

Personal injury cases are typically handled through civil law and allow the injured party to seek compensation for their damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related losses. If you have suffered a personal injury, consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney who can help protect your legal rights and pursue compensation on your behalf is important.

Tort Law: Personal Injury Claims, Lawsuits & Compensation

Personal injury law describes the wrongful actions that arise from wrongful conduct. The word “tort” actually comes from another Latin phrase that means twisting, causing harm, or damaging things. Unlike criminal law, a tort lawsuit involves no prosecution by state or federal authorities.

Instead, this case involves an individual suing the defendant seeking compensation to recover the loss of the actions of the defendant. Once negligence is proved, defendants have an obligated obligation to pay plaintiffs for all damages suffered by defendants’ actions. A lot of damage can easily be calculated as property damage or medical expenses.

Tort Law Basics

  • First, let’s understand that this is all to be handled under what law students call: “Tort Law.”

So let’s try it this way. Annually there are millions of accidents of various types. These can result in thousands of fatalities and millions of people injured.

  • What if an accident causes injury or death?

Personal injury law enables injured victims like you or your family to get money for your reasonable losses in a tort case. A tort case can also include losing a loved one in wrongful death. So the suffering survivors get money.

Because of the risks and rewards in bringing a case, plaintiffs hire local, specialized personal injury attorneys.” And these experts near you help devise the plaintiff’s tactics to win money. The end game is M-O-N-E-Y!

So naturally, these advocates know how to maximize a tort victim’s compensation. At least you hope they know what they are doing, right?

So penalties will not be a part of your civil tort case. Are you getting this so far?

  • In other words, the criminally charged party can’t be tried in a civil court for a criminal act.
  • The civilly liable party accused of a criminal violation will have that case heard in criminal court. There they get prosecuted by a DA or City attorney on behalf of the state. The state is the victim in that case. The criminal’s sentence can include fines, jail, or another penalty.
  • But as a tort victim, you can still sue the wayward defendant in a civil court if they hurt you or killed your loved one while the guilty criminal is behind bars.

So What Exactly Is A Tort?

The thing to understand about tort law is that it does not involve criminal charges. Generally, California tort claims are tried in civil courts. But arguably, you can bring a private attorney general’s action in an unfair business practices case under a Business and Professions Code §17200 lawsuits.

But complicated mixed-bag claims are not the only cases. What if someone gets charged with a criminal violation for death or severe injury? Criminal law would be the law of the case.

Different Types of Tort Claims

In many cases, torts are possible. In other words, the injured person can claim damages from a civil suit by using one of the following methods. Contact us today for a comprehensive overview of tort law in general, including negligence, and contributory negligence.

What is a Mass Tort?

We generally mean mass torts arising out of the defective product that causes severe harm to drug users. A case against a woman’s hygiene product using talcum powder is considered a mass tort. A mass tort is an action involving many people that can harm many others.

Examples of Strict Liability Torts Cases You Can Bring?

In tort law, strict liability cases are imposed on a person injured in a serious accident because the legal system says that liability should be presumed if there is damage or a physical injury such as this. In other words, if a person or entity causes harm, they are held liable for that harm, regardless of whether they intended to cause it or not.

Here are some examples of strict liability torts cases that you can bring:

  1. Product liability: If a product is defectively designed or manufactured, and it causes harm to the user, the manufacturer can be held strictly liable for the harm caused. Examples of defective products include faulty airbags, defective medical devices, and dangerous pharmaceuticals.
  2. Ultrahazardous activities: Activities that are inherently dangerous, such as storing or transporting explosives, are subject to strict liability. If an accident occurs and causes harm, the person or entity engaging in the activity can be held strictly liable for the harm caused.
  3. Wild animals: Owners of wild animals can be held strictly liable for any harm caused by their animals, even if they take all reasonable precautions to prevent harm.
  4. Abnormally dangerous activities: Activities that are not inherently dangerous but are highly risky due to the circumstances, such as blasting with dynamite (TNT), or crop dusting with dangerous or cancerous chemicals, can also subject a defendant to strict liability.
  5. Environmental pollution: Companies that pollute the environment can be held strictly liable for any harm caused by their pollution, even if they take all reasonable precautions to prevent harm.

It’s important to note that unlike most traffic laws, strict liability cases can be complex and require the help of a qualified attorney. If you believe you have a strict liability case, you should consult an attorney specializing in this area of law if you really want a fair financial recovery.

What’s the Difference Between a Mass Tort Lawsuit and a Class Action Lawsuit?

Regardless of how much torts are involved, you still are considered an individual. The judge may hear your specific injury to the person who took the medication. In class actions, only one member represents all the other members.

What are Examples of Intentional Torts?

It is considered an intentional tort if someone willfully commits wrongful acts. It is unlikely to explain or predict any of these consequences and may also cause an accident causing an injury. It is not necessary that there is a malicious activity in these cases. This list a number of felony intentional torts that are commonly encountered. The defendant’s negative effects on his or her behavior are the focus of this case. Someone might sometimes assault someone by touching your head with a firearm.

Where Should You File for a Personal Injury?

In California, personal injury cases are typically filed in the jurisdictional county’s Superior Court where the injury occurred or where the defendant resides. This is known as the venue.

For example, if you were injured in Los Angeles, you would file your personal injury lawsuit in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. However, if the defendant resides in a different county, you may also be able to file the lawsuit in that county. You may also be able to file in federal court, so consult a seasoned lawyer first to ensure that your lawsuit is filed promptly and properly.

What Compensation Can I Receive in a Tort Case?

In a tort case, the compensation you can receive will depend on the specific facts of your case and the damages you have suffered. Generally speaking, two types of compensation are available in a tort case: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are damages that can be objectively calculated and typically include:

  • Medical expenses: This includes the cost of medical treatment, medication, and rehabilitation.
  • Lost wages: If you have missed work due to your injuries, you may be able to recover the wages you lost.
  • Property damage: If your property was damaged as a result of the defendant’s actions, you may be able to recover the cost of repairing or replacing the property.
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses: This includes expenses such as transportation costs to and from medical appointments.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are damages that are more subjective and do not have a clear dollar value.

These damages include:

  1. Pain and suffering: This includes physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
  2. Loss of enjoyment of life: If your injuries have affected your ability to enjoy life, you may be able to recover damages for this loss.
  3. Loss of consortium: If your injuries have affected your relationship with your spouse or partner, you may be able to recover damages for this loss.

In some cases, punitive damages may also be available. Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious and are intended to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future. Examples include a defendant intentionally hitting a person or other actions that intentionally caused an injury, including unwarranted animal attacks when police exceed the reasonable use of force, etc.

It is important to consult with a personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and help you understand the compensation you may be entitled to receive.

Are Traffic Accidents The Largest Percentage Of Tort Law Cases?

Probably. There remains a significant percentage of tort cases brought involving traffic accidents. But negligent torts occur even when the victims are careful.

  • Mostly, these torts include negligence when the liable party’s actions are reckless or careless. That means actions or inaction led to the incident leading to numerous specific torts based on the situation.
  • The next type of main tort case is from slip and fall incidents that occur in a public place, business, or property, almost always leading to physical harm.
  • Santa Monica personal injury lawyers are very familiar with these types of claims. And this is because of all the tourism in this city.

In these cases, the property owner has been careless, making them liable to pay the plaintiff’s compensatory damages. And this defendant may be entirely responsible or partially liable in a personal injury lawsuit for negligence.

The other kinds of cases that involve tort law are:

  • Medical malpractice claims
  • Dog bite attack cases
  • Defective product claims, etc.

This type of case may also include defamation of character or some other statute the defendant violated, sich as speeding or running a red light, for example.

What Are The Fundamentals of Tort Law?

Tort law has different fundamentals that apply to personal injury cases. Also, some elements may differ from one state to another. For example, California’s comparative negligence rules differ from those in Texas, for example. The civil lawsuits filed to obtain compensation will be handled in the jurisdiction of the mishap, the plaintiff’s business, or the residence location. But this is based upon local or federal laws, and not all torts are the same.

For example, where you can file a cruise ship claim for a civil wrong will be based on the terms and conditions of the cruise ship passage contract. Whereas a passenger car accident is more straightforward, with no treaty of other maritime law preventing you from relying on local rules of court, etc.

  • Product liability is the most common claim that may involve parties in different places or even different states. Wherever the defendant owed and breached a duty of care owed by a reasonable person, can be the jurisdiction where torts fall that a plaintiff can sue for the defendant’s negligence.

Product liability laws include:

  • Defective product design that is unreasonably unsafe
  • Manufacturing defects; may include distributors and retailers
  • Another part of product liability law is the failure to warn of potential hazards, which can include the requirement of instructions or directions for a product that can be dangerous if improperly used.

  • You, as the plaintiff, bring a legal action in tort law against the liable defendant.
  • Typically, you hire a lawyer to do this for you.
  • Claims are negotiated with an insurance company. If not, civil litigation commences in a civil state or federal court.
  • Claims are often settled satisfactorily before trial.

If not resolved, personal injury lawsuits can be filed, and the case goes to a jury. If you win, the panel awards you monetary compensation.

  • Some lawsuits brought in civil court rely on tort law in class action claims. In those complex cases, there will be more than one plaintiff. Most of us have seen national TV class action campaigns for Vaginal Mesh and Asbestos claims.

So in some cases means, there will be many plaintiffs who have suffered harm by the same cause. And his could be something like a defective product, drug, or automobile. The plaintiffs will share the award here. And usually, the split is based on a percentage of the degree of harm sustained by each wrongdoer. In class actions, sometimes a gift certificate is awarded to most class members, and the main award goes to the original one or two class members, and a ton of money goes to the lawyers.

Damages for most personal injuries include:

  • Lost wages, medical bills, including future medical expenses
  • Future costs of permanent or temporary disabilities
  • Emotional pain and suffering (however, in a personal injury case, claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional and negligent torts are treated differently for purposes of insurance coverage.)

Is A Wrongful Death Also A Tort?

Yes. Except here, the damages are for non-contact injuries to you.

In wrongful death claims, the damages will include money for:

  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of earnings
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • The court may award punitive damages for deterring future misconduct.

In these personal injury cases, the defendants will use sneaky defenses and insurance company tactics. The reduction of the settlement or jury award remains the goal. In any event, individual injury cases are the specialty of the tort law lawyer.

These are jurists who can litigate a solid court case against the tort defense attorney’s case. In these types of claims, the damages, your Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys, for example, will include your other losses too. In the meantime, avoid becoming a plaintiff. Obey traffic rules, and abide by your duty of care to keep others out of harms way to avoid any allegations of future misconduct or negligence claims against you personally.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Tort Claims Law Expert At Ehline Law

When a tort occurs Ehline Law Firm we’re dedicated to helping people from all walks of life get the compensation they deserve. If you’ve been injured or suffered losses due to someone else’s negligence or tortious act, we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, even if you have an existing claim or have existing personal injury lawsuits or a tort claim filed.

To learn more, contact a personal injury attorney at Ehline Law Firm (213) 596-9642. We are available to discuss your wrongful death lawsuit and other civil wrongs 24/7 and are experts in all types of tort lawsuits.

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients.
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Michael Ehline

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We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.