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Written by: J. Todd Tenge

A Guide to Torts

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“Tort” is a strange word that has a very straightforward meaning. It is a French term adopted by English courts that means a “wrong” or “injury.”

In American law, it is a catchall phrase for a civil wrong that results in injury to another.

In its essence, a tort is an act or omission by one person that results in the harm or injury to another.

Understanding how an act or omission results in liability for an injury depends on the type of tort committed. There are three generally recognized torts: 

  • Negligence, 
  • Intentional, and 
  • Strict liability.  

Below we have provided a guide to each type to help you better understand your rights and how you may have been wronged. 

Negligence

A tort in negligence focuses on a person’s conduct and has little to do with their intentions. The analysis is whether an act or omission of a person fell below a reasonable standard of care which that person owed to another.

As a result, a person can be liable for an injury even if they did not intend to harm anyone. Negligence cases focus on the concepts of “duty,” “standard of care,” and “reasonableness.”

A few examples of torts in negligence would be:

  • Bicycle accidents,
  • Car accidents,
  • Slip and fall, and
  • Medical malpractice.

Negligence torts can vary widely, so if you don’t see one that applies to your case, please contact us

Intentional

In contrast to a tort in negligence, an intentional tort focuses exclusively on intent and almost completely disregards any consideration of “care.”

In other words, did the person intend to act in a certain way and did that act harm another? A further important layer to the analysis is whether the person knew or should have known that their act would cause the injury.

States formally recognize several types of intentional torts such as:

  • Trespass,
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress,
  • Battery,
  • Assault, and
  • Conversion of property.

Note that several of these intentional torts may also be treated as crimes under criminal law.

Strict Liability

Strict liability torts do not generally focus on either a standard of care or intent. In strict liability tort cases, the analysis is whether a person committed the act, and if the act was committed, then liability generally results.

Strict liability cases are applied to a narrow field of topics such as:

  • Defective products,
  • Defective medications and medical devices,
  • Animal bites, and
  • Abnormally dangerous activities.

While strict liability torts may seem simple, many factors are needed to prove a personal injury case under strict liability.

Tenge Law Firm Can Find Justice for You

At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we treat each case as if it is our only case. Our attorneys have decades of experience in tort cases and have won millions of dollars in awards and settlements

The Tenge Law Firm, LLC, is uniquely positioned to help you find the justice you deserve and the compensation for your injuries that you are entitled to. Call us today for a free consultation. 

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