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Understanding Tort: What Is a Tort Liability in Legal Context?


Video Transcript

“0:00 What is a tort liability? A tort

0:03 liability is simply a liability of a

0:06 party who is committed a tort. Examples

0:09 of a tort liability could be violation

0:12 of a vehicle code section. It could be a

0:14 crime to violate the vehicle code

0:15 section. But it could also be negligence

0:18 per se where the law simply makes you

0:20 liable for violating that section if the

0:23 conduct in you violating that section

0:25 caused an accident or an injury to 0:28 another.”

What is a tortious act? A tort is a civil wrong for which courts can impose liability, and understanding tort law is the first step to protecting your rights as an injured victim. When a defendant is not a reasonable person and causes physical harm, the responsible party, or their master may be held liable financially as a direct result.

This is called a tort case and it can be brought for both public and private wrongs. Let’s explore what tort liability is according to the Supreme Court and various state laws with Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys.

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What Is a Tort Liability?

In simple words, liability is responsibility for an action (think about injuries sustained in car accidents), and tort liability suggests that someone is accountable for another’s wrongdoings. However, contractual disagreements fall under contract law and not under tort liability, even if they cause non economic damages like pain and suffering or financial harm caused due to the breach. In those cases, criminal charges could lie, and if egregious enough, a defrauded plaintiff may have a fraud claim under tort law.

Under English common law, tort law aims to right a wrong without incriminating the defendant, meaning tort cases are often resolved and legally protected in civil courts. The victims seeking a remedy in a civil court for a both a common law or statutory tort (like wrongful death) are in the form of monetary compensation, which may or may not award punitive damages to punish a tortfeasor’s actions under the U.S. legal system.

Categories of Tort Law

State statutory law defines the boundaries of tort law and helps judges interpret one’s actions to determine liability. Let’s explore the three different tort law categories and how they differ from each other.

Negligent Torts

When someone fails to exercise reasonable care during an activity or action, and it harms another individual, such a situation falls under negligent torts. 

Under negligent tort law, individuals must act in a reasonable manner to avoid harm or injuries to another person, which may include a person’s actions or omissions.

An example of negligence tort is when a driver runs a red light and causes an accident, injuring another person. The injured party may bring a tort claim against the driver to recover the damages. In most negligent tort cases, the insurance company provides coverage for the policyholder’s reckless actions.

Another example could be providing financial advice to a business client. If the financial expert provides terrible advice or makes a mistake causing your financial losses, you may be able to claim compensation. However, if a financial advisor does not give their clients advice resulting in financial losses, they may be liable for damages.

When bringing negligent tort lawsuits against the defendants, the plaintiff or their tort lawyer needs to establish the following key four elements:

  1. Legal duty

  2. Breach of duty

  3. Causation

  4. Damages.

Premises liability also falls under negligent torts as the property owner has a responsibility to ensure that their property is reasonably safe and must eliminate or warn guests of any hazards on the property to prevent accidents. 

An injured victim can hold property owners responsible for injuries arising from their negligence.

Intentional Torts

Unlike negligent tort, which are injuries or damages caused due to one’s negligence or reckless actions or commissions, intentional torts are much different.

They cover deliberate actions or intentional wrongdoings aimed at causing injury or harm to another party and are generally split into two categories:

  • Physical harm: An example of physical harm could be battery against an individual, leading to injuries. In such situations, the intention of causing the eventual outcome does not matter since the action preceded the injuries.

  • Reputational or psychological harm: Spreading fake news about a person on the internet, causing damage to their reputation, falls under defamation and is an example of intentional torts.

Common intentional torts include battery, assault, false imprisonment, defamation, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and trespass (land and chattel).

For example, a Someone who commits battery can face both civil and criminal charges. For civil battery, three elements must be included — intent, contact, and harm, which can be emotional or physical in nature. False Imprisonment : If someone restricts another person’s ability to move freely, then that can be classified as false imprisonment. The plaintiff has to prove willful and unlawful detention without consent

It is much more likely that the court awards punitive damages in intentional tort claims than in negligent claims if the plaintiff proves that the defendant’s actions were extremely reckless.

Strict Liability Torts

Unlike negligent or intentional torts, strict liability torts do not occur due to reckless misconduct or deliberate acts. Under tort and criminal law, strict liability tort occurs when a defendant is strictly liable for injuries regardless of their intentions or mental state.

When someone has a dangerous animal or partakes in ultra-hazardous activity leading to injuries to another party, they may be held liable for the damages. Dog bites and defective products are examples of strict liability torts. Let’s look at an example. 

California used to follow the one-bite rule, meaning dog owners would be liable for their pet’s actions if they previously had a history of dog bites. However, now dog bites fall under strict liability in the state. Dog owners are liable for dog bites regardless of whether the dog has a history of attacks.

Who are Some Potential Strictly Liable Tort Defendants?

Product Liability Cases If someone is injured and it was caused by a defective product, then several entities can be held liable, depending on where the defect occurred. This is also referred to as product liability. Entities that may be liable for strict liability can include: Manufacturer Packer Seller If an injury are typically only liable for their own actions, indirect liability for the tortious acts of others may arise due by operation of law, notably through joint and several liability doctrines as well as forms of secondary liability . Liability may arise through enterprise liability or, in product liability cases in the United States, market share liability . In certain cases, a person might hold vicarious liability for their employee or child under the law of agency through the doctrine of respondeat superior . For example, if a shop employee spilled cleaning liquid on the supermarket floor and a victim

When Is Tort Not a Crime?

When going over the definition of torts and their categories, one can easily confuse them with a crime. However, tort and crime are different but, at times, may overlap one another.

Torts are wrongdoings committed by one party to another or several parties, but the scope remains limited. Relief in the civil court in the form of compensation, injunction, or any other tort remedy can resolve the dispute, bringing the case to an end.

However, a crime is a violation of state or federal laws that has a mass-scale effect on society. Crimes can result in incarceration, criminal fines, loss of civil liberties, or any combination of these punishments. Our practice is to seek criminal and civil restitution and make the defendant pay for their failure to keep you safe in your well being. After all, it was foreseeable you’d get hurt and now they must compensate you for the violence or inaction upon a showing of proof they breached your duty.

What Is Tort Liability Insurance?

Tort liability insurance provides coverage to injured parties suffering from injuries due to another person’s actions or omissions based on statutes and judge made precedent. Several types of insurance can protect an individual from financial losses, including car insurance, homeowners insurance, health insurance, life insurance, and many more harmful acts.

Different insurance policies cater to various types of damages. For example, car insurance provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage but will not cover the defense of claims or false or frivolous claims by a wrongdoer against a consumer in most cases. You may need to file a lawsuit or tort claim before you blow the statute of limitations and waive your rights to pursue money damages in the future.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law Tort Attorneys

Were you hurt at work by an employer? Were you involved in a car accident or dog bite? Do you seek the best legal representation in Los Angeles to resolve your civil infringement claims? We can discuss the circumstances and forming an attorney-client relationship to provide the best legal representation in California without taking upfront legal fees.

No act imposed or omission denied is too small to discuss with our reputable injury litigation specialists. There may be a remedy or restitution available to solve your problem over legal violations and disputes. The consequences of sleeping on your rights after an injury incident could negatively alter your life forever, leaving you with out of pocket costs of medical bills, lost wages and lost future medical care and rehabilitation expenses. You must discuss your remedies with an expert at our law firm swiftly.

If you suffered injuries due to another’s fault, even if it was the government contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyer. We may be able to pursue damages owed by the other party in your given claim, or even file class actions for multiple injured parties in the proper federal or state jurisdiction.

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