What Is a Tort Claim?

A tort claim, in its most simple terms, is where one person has caused harm to another and can thus be held accountable by the court system. It is a civil claim where a claimant has suffered damage due to the specific actions of another party. The nature of the damage can take many forms, and these are not limited to but can include financial losses, physical injury, violation of privacy, and emotional distress. This claim can find the person who caused the damage legally reprehensible, as by causing harm to the claimant’s wellbeing, they have imposed upon their rights. Tort law involves making a civil remedy to the claimant, usually where the liable party will have to compensate the claimant financially for the harm they have caused – ‘harm’ meaning their general losses, whether it be monetary or emotional.

What Warrants a Tort Claim?

Tort claims are fairly flexible, and can be applied to numerous instances of personal injury. The term ‘injury’ is used to describe any action which infringes upon your rights. Cases of trespassing and assault are classic examples of clear-cut tort claims, but many more misdeeds are encompassed under the title of  mass tort claims. These include damage to property, emotional abuse, defamation of character, commercial negligence, as well as public and private nuisances. There are various tort laws that cover these many causes of personal harm, some focusing on business or contract misdeeds, others on social matters.

Specific Tort Claims

These are some examples of where you would be able to construct a tort claim based upon the claimant’s nature of suffering:

  • If you were the victim of a physical attack, fraud or someone made a malicious effort to distress you emotionally, this would fall under intentional torts. Intentional torts also cover vandalism and trespassing of your property.
  • Nuisance torts include more minor grievances, such as leaving rubbish in the street or playing music so loud that it is disturbing to neighbors.
  • Negligence torts form many personal injury claims that were from unintentional actions, for example if a pet attacks someone, the owner may be accused of negligence, or if you are involved in a car accident that isn’t your fault, the driver can be found negligent.
  • Other cases include sustaining injury at work because of improper safety procedures or hazards, which makes the business liable for negligence.

Defense of Torts

In order to successfully argue against a tort claim, and absolve the defendant from liability to the damages, one must prove there was no breach of duty in the context of the specific tort. Other ways to defend against a tort claim, and potentially reduce or remove the liability, is to prove that the claimant themselves were involved in criminal activity or wrongdoing at the time, or that they consented to and were made appropriately aware of the risks which lead to their personal suffering.