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Why Do We Need Tort Law: Purpose and Its Importance?


Video Transcript

“0:00 Why do we need tort law? Tort laws keep

0:04 people from taking the law into their

0:05 own hands. They also provide a way to

0:08 punish someone through their pocketbook.

0:10 Sometimes putting someone in jail simply

0:13 isn’t enough. Sometimes people, when

0:16 they’re hurt with their pocketbook,

0:17 usually respond by altering their

0:21 conduct more so than if they just had to

0:23 spend some time in jail. Could be an

0:25 extremely rich person who just goes

0:27 around and beats people up knowing that

0:29 they’re only going to go to jail for a

0:30 short time. Sometimes the best way to

0:32 punish them is to go after their

0:34 pocketbook.”

Did you suffer an injury caused by a car accident or defectively manufactured product or larger tort cases? A tort (negligent or intentional tort) is an act constituting a civil wrong that causes harm or injury to an individual for which the remedy is, in most cases, monetary compensation. Let’s explore the details of tort and why tort law is so important with Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys.

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Why Do We Need Tort Law?

The primary purpose of tort is to make the injured party whole again. This is usually done through awarding compensatory damages to cover medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. Tort laws cover injuries, harm, and wrongful death.

There are three general categories of tort law, including the following:

  • Negligent torts: A negligent tort is a wrongful act or omission when there is a duty. It occurs when the defendant’s actions are unreasonably safe, causing injuries or harm on purpose.
  • Intentional torts: An intentional tort is from intentional acts carried out knowingly or purposefully to cause harm to another person. The difference between negligent torts and intentional torts is the mental state of the person committing the wrong. Some examples of intentional tort include assault, trespass to chattel, and many others.
  • Strict liability torts: This is a standard under which a person is liable for an act regardless of their mental state when committing the action. Even if the defendant takes extra precautions, they may still be liable under strict liability.

Remedies under Negligent Tort or Intentional Tort Law

Tort law requires injured parties to recover their losses following a civil wrong, which may come in monetary compensation, injunction, or other forms of remedy.

In most civil cases, the injured plaintiff seeks compensatory damages to make them whole again, while in some, they require the court to prevent the defendant from carrying out an act or pass a court order requiring the defendant to carry out an action.

The court awards compensatory damages in most tort cases, whether the defendant carried out negligence, strict liability, or intentional tort. Compensatory damages are equal to the losses incurred by the plaintiff, and these are typically divided into two categories, economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages in tort claims include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage, while non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and others.

In rare cases, the civil court may also award punitive damages to punish the defendants and deter others from such civil wrongs.

Why Tort Law Is Important

Tort law creates a justice system that holds people and organizations accountable for their wrongdoings and deters others from doing the same. It reimburses the victim, if they win the tort case, for any damages due to another’s wrongdoing. 

Another thing to remember is that contract lawsuits fall under contract law, not tort law.

Deters Companies from Putting Profit above Safety

In tort cases that involve large corporations, the tort law holds them accountable for causing others injury or harm and deterring future misconduct. Companies aim to make profits, and those running these enterprises put profit ahead of safety and, in some cases, disregard human lives.

Tort law ensures businesses operate within certain boundaries, act reasonably, and respect human lives. If the companies do not practice within acceptable boundaries, injured victims can take them to court and recover financial compensation for their losses.

Manufacturers’ liability has led to safer consumer products, such as cars with rear-seat belts or flame-retardant pajamas.

Power to the Average Man

The tort system ensures that the average man can influence powerful people, groups, organizations, and businesses to change dangerous practices.

Over the years, there were reports of clergy abuse carried out at catholic churches across the United States. Still, there was no accountability until the victims started taking action and filing lawsuits against dioceses, clergies, and religious institutions. Legal actions forced the catholic church echelons to impose strict procedures at the churches to punish offenders while protecting the victims.

Another example is nursing homes, where families pay money to ensure their family member is well taken care of. However, reports of nursing home negligence started to surface, revealing the harm caused to elderly patients at these institutions. Tort law allowed victims to hold these businesses accountable for their actions.

Limits Government’s Role

The government prosecutes criminal cases under criminal law, while civil courts deal with civil cases and provide relief to the victims. Without tort law, the government would also have to handle civil cases, ensuring a greater role and further burdening the justice system.

The United States government and its institutions already have their hands full, which has led to inefficiencies and a lack of implementation of regulations. For instance, Occupational Safety and Health Administration rarely pursues charges against wrongful deaths for blatant violations of workplace safety rules carried out by organizations resulting in a civil case.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has not publicized safety violations for tens of thousands of corrective actions between 1990 and 2004. They often withhold information about the safety of the products for months or even years, allowing large manufacturers to sell harmful or substandard products to consumers.

For years, many veterans and their families suffered severe medical conditions after living for years at military camps and bases across the United States. Most blamed these conditions on genetics, not knowing that exposure to toxic substances led to health issues among individuals. The environmental reports carried out by government agencies remained hidden for decades before they surfaced.

Causes of Most Intentional Torts

Most of these issues that arise at government institutions are because of lobbyists, negligence, and lack of resources. If the government were to enforce legislation and regulations fully, it would require more bureaucracy, levying higher taxes, and shifting public funds from much-needed programs to ensure justice.

Even with such changes, there is no guarantee that it would lead to better protections for the people, similar to what exists under the tort system.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Strict Liability Torts Attorney at Ehline Law Firm

If you suffered injuries or harm from another’s misconduct, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation with our experienced tort lawyers who will stop at nothing until we win big!

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