A tort is a commonly used term in personal injury law. There are a number of different types of torts for various situation that might occur. Before we explain the different types of common torts, let’s first understand exactly what is a tort? The dictionary definition of a tort states:
“A wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to legal liability.”
One of the primary things to understand about torts is how they differ to criminal law. In tort law there is no government persecution of the wrongdoer. Tort cases are handled in civil court where a plaintiff is seeking compensation for the harm that was done to them. The compensation is most commonly in the form of money which would be paid by the defendant as a result of the harm that they caused.
Elements of Tort Law
There are four elements to tort law which include:
Duty: a legal obligation
Breach of Duty: Failing to live up to the standard of a duty
Causation: Defendant’s conduct (or lack thereof) caused harm or damage
Injury: The harm or damage that occurred.
If damages are to be claimed by a plaintiff they must be able to prove all 4 elements of tort law, meaning a defendant was in a breach of duty which caused an injury to them.
There are three primary categories of torts, negligence, strict liability, and intentional torts. There are a number of different situations that can occur which fall under each of these different areas. Let’s take a look at some common torts in each of the categories.
The most common personal injury cases involve negligence. This is where a person or group of people act irresponsible and in a way that causes hard to someone else. There are many different situations that fall under the category of negligence. Car accidents that are caused by drunk or inattentive drivers is a very common example of negligence that’s often brought to civil court (as well as criminal court). There are also many causes of negligence that involve parents and small children. Parents have a duty to care for their children and negligence can be found if parent leave a small child alone in a car or at home, or in any number of other precarious circumstances. Another example could be carelessness on behalf of a doctor which causes medical problems for a patient.
This category is often also referred to as Product Liability and deals primarily with products that are defective and cause harm. A manufacturer or vendor has a duty to provide safe products that do to cause injury to those who use them (during normal use). There’s a wide variety of product liability examples within the consumer goods sector, from toys to appliances any defect that causes harm falls under this category. Another common example is within the food and prescription drug industries. Whether it’s medication or a frozen dinner, products that are consumed are subject to strict regulation and if they aren’t doing things correctly can often find themselves as a defendant in a personal injury case.
If a defendant purposefully causes harm or injury to someone else, this falls under the category of an intentional tort. What separates this from the other classes of torts is the idea of intent. The harm done was not the results of the lack of action, but rather the complete opposite. There are many different common intentional tort examples. Assault and battery to another person is one of the most common forms, however these are not limited to physical abuse on someone else. Emotional distress can also be considered an intentional tort. Other examples could be theft, trespassing or false imprisonment.
Personal Injury Attorney
Have you or a loved one suffered as a result of negligence, product liability, or intentional harm? Ryan Hilts specializes in personal injury law and torts within the state of Oregon. Please contact us today if you are in need of legal representation.