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4 Common Types of Tort Law and How to Decide Which Applies to Your Case

Torts are wrongful acts and omissions that injure or violate the rights of others. The standards in tort law come from the common law or statute and do not depend on an agreement between or among the opposing parties. While some torts are also crimes, a civil tort lawsuit aims primarily to compensate victims for injuries rather than punish. These torts fall into four general categories.

Intentional Torts

A person who commits an intentional tort against you either intends to harm you or acts with substantial certainty of harming you. In this category of wrongs, you will find assault, battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Some speak of assault and battery interchangeably. However, these two crimes are not the same. Unlike battery, assault can occur even if the defendant makes no physical contact. Actions that put you in reasonable fear or apprehension of harmful or unwanted contact qualify as assaults. These may include someone swinging or throwing an object at you but missing.


The most prevalent type of tort case handled by a personal injury lawyer involves negligence, where a defendant fails to exercise reasonable care. Motor vehicle crashes are usually the most common type of negligence. Speeding, running red lights, texting while driving, other types of distracted driving, and impaired driving are among the causes of fractures, internal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and other injuries.

Other negligence suits might arise out of defective conditions on property and negligent hiring of employees, including those who might assault, hit, or falsely detain you.

Strict Liability

In certain cases, you’re entitled to compensation for your injuries even if the defendant did not intend to harm you or was not negligent. These strict liability cases apply to abnormally dangerous activities such as blasting or storing hazardous or toxic substances. The law recognizes that these activities may cause property damages and personal injury even if defendants engage in them using reasonable care.

You may invoke strict liability in products liability cases. Manufacturers and distributors can be responsible if you’re injured due to a manufacturing or design defect. Products liability also arises from a failure of the maker, wholesaler, or seller to warn customers about the defects.

Workers’ Compensation

If you’re hurt while performing your job, you may qualify for workers’ compensation. The benefits include expenses for medical treatments and lost wages for the time of your disability. The law sets maximum amounts for lost wages. You need not show that the employer negligently caused your injuries to get workers’ compensation. To pursue injuries for pain and suffering and other damages from a workplace accident, you must sue a third party such as the equipment supplier or manufacturer.

A personal injury lawyer who handles personal injury and worker’s compensation cases can tell which type of tort law your case falls under and can help you get compensation for injuries. Brain injuries, fractures, sprains, and bruises can arise from batteries, assaults, crashes, falls, and accidents. A lawyer will identify the parties who are liable and the legal grounds for their responsibility. With medical records of your injuries, wage information, and photos, your attorney can convince the insurance company or a jury of your pain, suffering, and other injuries.

If you have been injured by the intentional or negligent acts of another, a defective product, or while working, you have the right to fair compensation. Talk to a lawyer who specializes in tort law about what your next steps should be.

Author information: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University and now writes articles about health, business, family, and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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