Personal Injury

Tort is the law of civil wrongs. Tort law usually provides people with the rights to compensation when another person harms their legally protected interests. For instance, if somebody throws a ball and it accidentally hits a pedestrian in the eye, any costs of medical treatment and compensation for lost income during time off work could be paid by the person who threw the ball to the person who was hurt. As well as bodily integrity, certain liberties are protected, such as the right to one's reputation. If a newspaper publishes a defamatory statement about a celebrity which is untrue, the paper may have to pay damages as a way of demonstrating they were wrong.

Proprietary interests can also be protected, so if somebody takes their pet bull into another person's china shop, and the bull breaks all the china, they will probably have to compensate for all the damage caused. Tort law is broken down into various distinct types of "torts", so that a person may sue in negligence, when somebody has unreasonably breached a duty of care for others' interests. Torts other than negligence focus on particular interests, as defamation protecting reputation, nuisance and trespass to land protecting land, trespass to the person protecting bodily interests, false imprisonment protecting freedom of movement, conversion protecting movable property, economic torts protecting contractual interests, and so on. The majority of tort cases concern road accidents, accidents in the workplace or medical accidents.

The equivalent of tort in civil law jurisdictions is delict. The law of tort can be categorised as part of the law of obligations, but, unlike voluntarily assumed obligations (such as those of contract, or trust), the duties imposed by the law of tort apply to all those subject to the relevant jurisdiction. To behave 'tortiously' is to harm another's body, property, or legal rights, or, possibly, to breach a duty owed under statute. One who commits a tortious act is called a "tortfeasor". Torts is one of the American Bar Association mandatory first year law school courses.


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