What is a tort?

Tort Law conceptOh, the terms you see and hear when dealing with the legal system.  There’s “Juris prudence” or “pro se” and let’s not forget “ex parte”.  The legal system does seem to have its own language.  A word that is commonly used is “tort”.  Some terms or words can be figured out by looking at the spelling.  Or you might get a good idea of the meaning on how it’s used in the sentence.  But “tort” has always confused me so I thought I would research this word.

It seems there are two types of “torts” or cases in personal injury claims.  There are “negligence and intentional torts”.  We can look at the difference in these two types by using the scenario of an automobile accident.  The injured party in a car accident has moderate injuries and has lost a few weeks of work.  Understandably, that person will try to recoup the financial expense and loss they have incurred.  To file a personal injury claim and state it was a negligence tort, means the person who caused the injury did not do so on purpose.  The injury was probably caused by carelessness of the other operator.  Maybe the other driver had no tread left on his tires and hydroplaned right into your car during a rain storm.  It wasn’t done on purpose.  The other driver didn’t aim his car at you with the purpose of causing harm. 

On the other hand, an intentional tort means just what it sounds like, the other driver headed right for you.  The injury was done on purpose.  This type of tort will may involve more than one defendant and have multiple consequences for the one act.  An intentional tort of personal injury could also be a company manufacturing a product knowing it causes harm to people.  This would involve many people to cover up the act and more than likely result in criminal charges as well as the civil case.  The most common reasons for an intentional tort are assault and battery leading to a domestic abuse situation or defamation of character.

So there you have it.  A tort is a case.  There are two types; negligence torts and intentional torts.  After breaking it down, I’m beginning to get the hang of the legal lingo.  Now I just have to work on “pro se”, “Juris prudence” and “ex parte”.

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