If You’ve Been Injured, You’ve Probably Heard the Word “Tort.” What Exactly Does That Mean?

Over the years, we’ve helped many Minnesotans who have been seriously injured due to the carelessness of others. Specifically, we’ve helped clients recover compensation from insurance companies and through personal injury lawsuits. That’s where the phrase “personal injury lawyer” comes from. 

During the course of a personal injury case or insurance claim, clients often see the word “tort” in a document, and they aren’t quite sure what it means. So what is a tort, and how is it related to injury claims?

What Is a Tort?

“Tort” is a legal term referring to an act or omission that leads to some type of injury or harm to another person, giving rise to a claim that can be tried in a civil court. Torts can cause physical injuries, psychological injuries, financial losses, or property damage. Every personal injury lawsuit involves a tort. However, not every tort involves a personal injury.

For example, if someone writes and publishes false statements about you online, that person may be committing the tort of defamation or libel. But, neither of those torts is a personal injury; you could file a defamation lawsuit, but that is entirely unrelated to personal injury law.

Three Types of Torts

There are three main categories into which all torts fall:

  • Intentional torts: This is when a wrongdoer intentionally causes damage or injury to someone else. Examples of intentional torts include assault, battery, fraud, defamation, libel, and false imprisonment.
  • Negligent torts:  This is the most common type of tort. Negligence occurs when one party fails to show a reasonable amount of care and, as a result, injures another person. Examples of negligence include many car accidents, slip-and-falls, medical malpractice, and many other scenarios.
  • Strict liability torts: These are torts for which a person/company can be held liable even if they took all the precautions to try to prevent injury. The injured person does not have to prove negligence in strict liability cases. Strict liability is standard for abnormally dangerous activities (like blasting dynamite) and many product defect/product liability cases. 

Winning a Negligence Tort Claim

Since the vast majority of Minnesota personal injury cases involve negligent torts, we’ll focus on negligence here. To win a negligence case, your lawyer will need to provide evidence to prove all four of these things:

  • Duty: The party that injured you owed you a reasonable amount of care. That could mean they were obligated to drive carefully or warn you about a wet floor.
  • Breach of duty: The party failed to exercise the care required.
  • Causation: The breach of duty caused your injuries.
  • Damages: You suffered injuries that are compensable under the law (i.e., you might be entitled to monetary compensation from the defendant).

At White & Associates, our injury attorneys know what it takes to compile evidence that proves all of these elements and calculate the total damages you are owed.

Get a Free Consultation With a Sherburne County Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured due to someone else’s actions, you may have a valid personal injury claim. The team at White & Associates in Elk River can evaluate the situation and advise you on what to do next. Give our office a call at 763-241-0477 or send us a message to schedule a free attorney consultation.

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