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Legal Dictionary

tort

Legal Definition of tort

Noun

  1. Derived from the Latin word tortus which meant wrong. In French, "tort" means a wrong". Tort refers to that body of the law which will allow an injured person to obtain compensation from the person who caused the injury. Every person is expected to conduct themselves without injuring others. When they do so, either intentionally or by negligence, they can be required by a court to pay money to the injured party ("damages") so that, ultimately, they will suffer the pain cause by their action. Tort also serves as a deterrent by sending a message to the community as to what is unacceptable conduct.

See also


Definition of tort

Pronunciation

  • enPR: tô(r)t, IPA: /ˈt"ː(r)t/, SAMPA: /"tO:(r)t/
  • Audio (US) [?]
  • Audio (UK) [?]
  • Homophones: taught, taut (in non-rhotic accents)
  • Rhymes: -"ː(r)t

Etymology

    From Old French tort.

Noun

tort (plural torts)

  1. An injury or wrong. [from the mid-13th c.]
  2. (law) A wrongful act, whether intentional or negligent, which causes an injury and can be remedied at civil law, usually through awarding damages. A delict. [from the later 16th c.]
  3. (plural, torts) The area of law dealing with such wrongful acts.

Further reading

A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a wrong that involves a breach of a civil duty (other than a contractual duty) owed to someone else. It is differentiated from a crime, which involves a breach of a duty owed to society in general. Though many acts are both torts and crimes, prosecutions for crime are mostly the responsibility of the state, private prosecutions being rarely used; whereas any party who has been injured may bring a lawsuit for tort. It is also differentiated from equity, in which a petitioner complains of a violation of some right. One who commits a tortious act is called a tortfeasor. The equivalent of tort in civil law jurisdictions is delict.

Tort may be defined as a personal injury; or as "a civil action other than a breach of contract."

A person who suffers a tortious injury is entitled to receive "damages", usually monetary compensation, from the person or people responsible - or liable - for those injuries. Tort law defines what is a legal injury and, therefore, whether a person may be held liable for an injury they have caused. Legal injuries are not limited to physical injuries. They may also include emotional, economic, or reputational injuries as well as violations of privacy, property, or constitutional rights. Tort cases therefore comprise such varied topics as auto accidents, false imprisonment, defamation, product liability (for defective consumer products), copyright infringement, and environmental pollution (toxic torts), among many others.

In much of the common law world, the most prominent tort liability is negligence. If the injured party can prove that the person believed to have caused the injury acted negligently - that is, without taking reasonable care to avoid injuring others - tort law will allow compensation.

However, tort law also recognizes intentional torts, where a person has intentionally acted in a way that harms another, and "strict liability" or quasi-tort, which allows recovery under certain circumstances without the need to demonstrate negligence.

References:

  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.



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