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What Should You Know About International Tort

What Should You Know About International Tort

Torts are civil crimes and intentional torts are those cases which involve an intentional act that resulted in a negative outcome.
Tort laws allow individuals to seek compensation for acts which resulted in a negative outcome. It is somewhat easier to prove culpability in intentional tort cases. The main difference being that in tort cases individuals may not have knowingly caused the outcome. For example, an individual took some action or inaction which resulted in a negative outcome that they did not foresee.
In intentional tort, the individual took actions in the hopes that it would cause the negative outcome for another individual. The intent may have been malicious or it may not have been. All that is required to prove intentional tort is that the individual had a plan for some outcome which would result from their actions.

Know Your Facts About Tort Reform

Know Your Facts About Tort Reform

What is Tort Reform?

Tort reform refers to the proposed changes made in the civil justice system that directly reduces tort litigation or damages. The tort system was created to outline compensation methods and amounts for wrongs and harms committed by one party to another person’s property or protected interests. In addition to tangible damages such as property and physical harm to a party, the tort system also includes damages inflicted on an individual’s reputation (under libel reform and slander laws). 
Tort reform, in the United States is a heated political issue as a result of the avocation of procedural limits on the ability to file claims and placing a ceiling on the awards of damages. In contrast, in Commonwealth countries,  any party who initiates liability lawsuits must pay court fees as well as a variety of legal expenses should they lose their claim. This procedural mandate effectively reduces the number of tort cases. Furthermore, there are numerous proposals to replace the system of tort compensation with a social security framework to serve victims without respect to causation. 
The fundamentals of the tort system requires that those responsible (meaning those at fault) for causing harm to other parties must compensate the victims with a financial package. In a general sense, typical harms include any action that precipitates a loss of income (medical costs associated with treatment and lost wages while the victimized party recovers payment for pains accrued by the victimized party and any future payments that are threatened by the aggressor’s actions). 
The primary purpose of tort law is to award a full compensation for the actions that are proven and the harm that is affirmed through the aggressor’s actions. Tort law, in essence, aims to offer the damaged party a chance to restore their financial state back to its point of origin; in other words, the point of tort law is to place a financial obligation on an individual who causes harm to another party. 
In a general sense, tort reform advocates believe that an excess of the 15+ million lawsuits filed annually in the United States of America are “frivolous” and superfluous. This notion places blame on the foundation of the court system in America and the ability for any citizen to file a personal injury or tort claim in the hopes of seeking a monetary award. The problem, however, with tort reform lies within the true purpose of tort law; tort law serves to compensate victims for their losses and secondly the threat of liability or court action serves to deter future incidents of harm from occurring. 
The term “frivolous lawsuits” includes not only the over-saturation of filed claims, but also those suits that are used without merit or claims that seek high damage awards relative to the actual damages absorbed. 

A Brief Overview of Tort Law

A Brief Overview of Tort Law

 

Introduction 

A tort is a civil breach committed against another in which the injured party can sue for damages. In personal injury cases, the injured party will attempt to receive compensation with the represantation of a personal injury lawyer in order to recover from damages incurred. Tort law decides whether a person should be held legally responsible for injury against another, and what type of compensation the injured party is entitled to. There are four elements to tort law: duty, breach of duty, causation, and injury. In order to claim damages, there must be a breach in the duty of the defendant towards the plaintiff, which results in an injury. The three main types of torts are negligence, strict liability (product liability), and intentional torts.

Intentional Interference with a Person

All tortious charges of intentional interference with person/property involve intent, which provides for a civil wrong, knowingly committed by the offender.  This contrasts with torts of negligence, which results from lack of concern or responsibility on behalf of the offender.These damages are dealt with through civil litigation.

Defenses to Intentional Interference with Persons

When a plaintiff accuses a defendant of an intentional tort, it is the defendant's responsibility to identify any justifications for his actions that may excuse him from liability. In tort law, there are several privileges that a defendant may apprehend, in order to avoid liability. It is up to the courts to determine whether the defendant's privilege excuses him from liability. They need to conclude on whether the defendant had consent, permission by the plaintiff, or whether the plaintiff was defending himself, his property, or another person. If the defendant is able to establish privilege, then it is said that he has not committed a tortious act and will not be held liable.

Negligence: Standard of Conduct

There are certain elements that are required to prove that a defendant acted negligently. There is a specific code of conduct which all people are expected to follow and there is a duty of the public to act in a certain way, which reduces the risk of harm to others. Negligence can only be claimed by an injured plaintiff, whose interests have actually been interfered with. This portrays that a plaintiff must prove his injuries, and prove that they were caused by the defendant. This proximate cause is the link between the defendant's actions and the plaintiff's injuries. There is a statute of limitations in negligence cases, however, there are several rules, such as discovery and continuing negligence, which may excuse a plaintiff from the statute of limitations.

Negligence Proof

The necessity for a negligence case to be tried in a court of law is essential and evident. Tort law, like any other law, is tough to decide upon when an enforcement or violation issue arises, and is furthermore tedious. In negligence cases, a court appoints a jury to make a decision upon a case based on the direct or circumstantial evidence that is available to them. The burden of proof a plaintiff faces in a case, relates to four elements of proof that must exist in order for them to be able to prove that a negligent act not only existed, but the fact that the act by a defendant, led to the injury sustained by the plaintiff. 

Proximate Cause

The name given to the direct cause of an accident, or incident leading to injury, is referred to as 'proximate'. The term proximate has long been known to mean near, or in the vicinity of, not actual. This gives a misconception to the name, as if the cause was nearly opposed to the actual one. Other issues arise deeper within proximate cause, and that is with the scope of liability and its extent. Controversy exists as to where liability should be extended to a defendant, based on their responsibility or duty.

Joint Tortfeasors

Joint tortfeasors, seen as equally liable for the committing of a tort, usually can be combined under one indictment. This is known as a "joinder of defendants". In a case similar to this, one significant reasoning behind its institution besides the commonality that the defendants share in their joint action, is that of "judicial economy." In reference to this term, the court is making the decision that placing all defendants under one sole indictment will be the most appropriate option in terms of efficiency and, ultimately, cost-effectiveness for the judicial system itself. Due to the mounting quantities of cases arising daily, this practice is employed as a worthwhile alternative, especially when an occasion such as that of joint tortfeasors comes about.

Limited Duty

In legal terms, duty is seen as an individuals obligation to act in a manner conducive to the well being of everyone around them, such as the prevention of any "foreseeable injury to a victim." Such a term that best represents this obligation is that of a "duty of care", or even "good Samaritan" to an extent. Duty, itself, serves two other important functions for societal concerns attached to tort law. These include a "general principle" and a "limitation." A general principle provides a precedence for future cases, while limitation sets forth the "boundaries" for which liability may exist for individuals involved in an incident. Actual application of this term comes in the form of its existence at the "abstract level" and "in fact or problem".

Owners & Occupiers

The concerns for areas outside of the premises of a given property deal with the condition of such a property. This is in direct regards to certain factors and attributes such as structural or fixtures on the property that could have an effect on the immediate areas surrounding it. The term trespassing adults refers to any person who has been found to be entering, occupying, or traveling through a property that is owned by someone else, without their permission or consent. Licensees are persons that are given a license, as a form of permission, to enter a property lawfully. Such persons are to enter the property for a reason that does not have to be in the best interest or benefit of the owner. By being granted the license to enter and occupy such property, this individual is exempt from trespassing status, and is completely abiding by the law.

Negligence- Defenses

Contributory negligence is one of the most commonly used negligence defenses. The defendant attempts to deny the plaintiff the right to action, by claiming that the plaintiff's own negligence played a large role in his injuries. In contributory negligence, both parties are guilty of negligence, but the plaintiff is not awarded any damages. The last clear chance rule is an exception to the contributory negligence defense which permits the plaintiff more freedom in taking action against a defendant when the plaintiff is also guilty of negligence. The last clear chance refers to an instance where the defendant had the last clear chance to avoid injuring the plaintiff, but did not take the opportunity. In cases where both the plaintiff and the defendant are both guilty of some degree of negligence, contributory negligence places liability solely on the plaintiff.

Imputed Negligence

Vicarious liability represents a venue in which individuals may be "vicariously" held accountable for the actions of individuals other than themselves. In these cases, the ones held liable are those who have some type of legal claim to the actual individuals at fault. Two such persons may be parents to mischievous children or employers to careless employees, as well as a guardian. In each circumstance, the liable individuals are taking the place of others. A joint enterprise is described as an action, which involves two or more individuals, usually with monetary considerations involved. Additional elements which comprise it include a common goal as well as concurrent rights to take the lead of the operation.

Strict Liability

The basic structure that encompasses that of strict liability is the fact that liability is maintained despite any intent otherwise. In this way, it matters only that the action was performed to its fruition and an eventual injury of another. Certain areas in which safety laws have had to come to the forefront concerning liability include incidents involving product defects. In cases such as these, consumers must only prove that their injuries stemmed directly from the product in question in order to garner an appropriate judgment from the court. The purpose behind such a seemingly rigid form of legislature is to prevent future occurrences from happening by providing precedence to fall in line with.

Compensation Systems

In tort cases, victims often receive compensation, including monetary judgments. However, some judgments include other factors such as: the accused, publicly admitting guilt. In most jurisdictions, the courts have placed limits, or judgment ranges, which depend on specific factors found in the case. In most cases, victims that sustain injuries receive a judgment which maxes out, regardless of how painful and permanent the injury may be. However, the courts can award other judgments, in addition to the one made for specific bodily injury.

Nuisance

In modern tort law there are different types of nuisances: public, private, and absolute. A private nuisance effects one individuals enjoyment of his land, while a public nuisance effects a larger amount of citizens, or the public in general. Absolute nuisances are nuisances for which the defendant is strictly liable. The simple form of nuisance is described as an act which takes away from rights to the use, and enjoyment of land that every owner has.

Products Liability

Products Liability is a field of tort law which concerns the responsibility of the manufacturer or vendor of a product to ensure that products are safe and do not cause injury. Products subjected to liability include all consumer goods, medical devices, commercial/personal vehicles, aircraft and consumable goods such as food and prescription drugs. As it is the duty of a product vendor or manufacturer to produce/supply a product which will not cause harm during normal use, manufacturer/vendors of unsafe products are subject to recovery for damages.

Misrepresentation & Nondisclosure

Misrepresentation and nondisclosure form two fundamental bases for many actions represented under tort law. Any case where false or hidden information plays a significant part, essentially implies a standard of care that reflects the negligence addressed by tort.  

To phrase it more simply, the fact that information has been withheld or misrepresented directly implies a negligent situation. This means that among the various subsections of tort law, cases of misrepresentation and nondisclosure can prove to be the easiest to form a legal consensus of opinion on whether negligence has happened, due to the very idea that the act itself is a negligent action. 

Misrepresentation and nondisclosure can take many forms, but generally they refer to an act or service. they are usually rendered for compensation that do not fulfill their terms of promise, either because they misrepresent their ability to perform, or fail to disclose elements that prevent adequate performance (like a unknown side effect for a product, or a conflict of interest in a case of service).  

There are many remedies one may seek when a case of misrepresentation can be seen to have occurred, though the extent to which they fall under tort law or other forms of legal action are highly dependent on the specific legal system, as well as the nature of the misrepresentation.  In nearly all cases, there is an obligation on the provider of a product or service to provide information either by law, or by request, so as to adhere to all legal standards of accurate representation.

Defamation

The term defamation refers to an abusive attack on a person's character or to make false claims against someone in order to damage their good name. There are two forms of defamation that can be used: libel and slander. An unreasonable person may abuse the right of privilege in order to commit defamation against another person. The right of privilege (or "qualified privilege")  being that a person has a right to make statements during the trial process. This privilege often protects against an unreasonable person who wishes to make defamation statements.     

Misuse of Legal Procedure

Misuse of Legal Procedure is a series of torts that involve the corrupt or undue filing of litigation for unlawful reasons. Public right of access to courts is granted on good faith that claimants will act with probable cause and honesty. Conversely, when a plaintiff in a lawsuit is found to have initiated legal action for purposes of deliberate harassment or inconvenience of the defendant, or when the court terminates the suit in favor of the defense, the defense may seek damage compensation for losses incurred in the legal process. These losses may be qualified under charges of Malicious Prosecution, Wrongful Civil Proceedings or Abuse of Process. 

Domestic Relations 

Domestic Relations is an evolving area of Tort Law which deals with a family's inner workings. The evolution of Domestic Relations Tort has not only shaped the way that family's may collect for damages or interference to the family unit itself resulting from tortious conduct; it has shaped the way husbands, wives, children and legal guardians are viewed as legal entities. Originally, under common law, children and wives were treated as chattels and functioned under a man's proprietary rights. In the 1900's, several advances in Family Law provided for the legal rights of women and children to act as distinct legal entities from their husbands/fathers. 

Survival & Wrongful Death

Survival and Wrongful Death are tort claims made after the death of an individual in an at-fault situation. This means that the deceased must be victim of a tort, before death or at the time of death. Survival actions are raised by the executives of the victim's estate, and are continuations of tort actions that the victim would have been entitled to raise in life. Wrongful death claims are made by surviving dependent's for the loss of the decedent's contributions to their lives.

Economic Relations

Torts of Economic Relations are allegations of direct interference with business relationships, agreements, or prospects, which result in quantifiable losses. When suing for Torts of Economic Relations, it is important that the plaintiff be able to prove that the defendant acted intentionally with knowledge of his or her own actions, and that the subsequent actions were injurious to the claimant in the form of economic losses. Torts of Economic Relations normally fall under classifications of Interference with Contractual Relations, Interference with Prospective Advantage or claims of Injurious Falsehood.

Immunities

In tort cases, there are certain intervening factors which allow individuals immunity, from their actions. Immunity implies either, that the person could not understand the risks associated with their actions or that they can not be held liable because they were acting on behalf of the government or other entity. Cases in which individuals are not likely to understand the possible outcomes of their actions, include infant immunity or insanity immunity. 

Infant immunity applies to minors that are too young to grasp the consequences of their actions. In addition, the minor must not have no intent to cause harm to person or property. It can not be claimed that the minor did not understand the consequences of their actions, if they intended the negative consequences that resulted from their actions. Intent can not be present without an understanding of possible outcomes. In cases that involve infant immunity, the parents or guardians of the minor, could be held liable for their actions, regardless of the minors understanding of the possible outcomes of those actions.

Insanity immunity can be utilized as a defense in cases where a person is deemed insane, or mentally incapable of understanding the possible outcomes of an action. In cases where insanity immunity is a factor, the caregiver of the person that acted in manner which caused a negative outcome, could be held liable in the same manner that a parent or guardian could be liable for a minor. In either case, the actor and those responsible for the care of the actor, could both be held liable for the action.

What Can a Tort Lawyer Help You With?

What Can a Tort Lawyer Help You With?

A Tort Lawyer is a legal practitioner who specializes in the practice, litigation, and handling of tort law; a tort, which is defined as a ‘wrong’, is a grievance or injury that is suffered, which can result in injury and/or damage. Amongst the most common issues of tort law are those of personally injury, general injury, and accidents. 

The following terms comprise what is traditionally considered to be handled by a tort lawyer:

Intentional Tort

An intentional tort refers to an action performed by an individual onto another individual – or entity – with the intent to cause purposeful harm or damage; an example of this nature of tort is a physical attack.

Negligent Tort

A negligent tort is defined as unforeseen damage or injury sustained by an individual – or entity – as a result of negligence on the part of an individual or entity; and example of this nature of tort is an injury sustained as a result of a faulty product.

Strict Liability Tort

In tort law, when there is no clear delineation between both the party who is at fault, as well as the party considered to be the victim with regard to harm or injury sustained, a strict liability tort determines the nature of fault; this usually occurs as a result of a court case and subsequent judicial review of circumstantial details.

 

A Helpful Introduction to Torts

A Helpful Introduction to Torts

What are Torts?:
 
 
A tort is a civil wrong committed against someone, in which the injured party can sue for damages. In personal injury cases, the injured party will attempt to receive compensation to cover losses due to medical expenses and to pay for damages. 
 
 
Tort law determines whether a person may be held legally responsible for injury against another, and what type of compensation the injured party is entitled to. There are four elements to tort law: duty, breach of the duty, causation, and injury. In order to claim damages there must be a breach in the duty of the defendant to the plaintiff which results in injury to the plaintiff. The three main types of torts are negligence, strict liability, and intentional torts.
 
 
Tort, Crime, and Punitive Damages:
 
 
Torts are civil wrongs that are committed against an individual and cause harm to that individual. Sometimes, depending on the nature of a tort, it may also be considered a crime. Intentional torts occur when the defendant is aware that his actions will cause injury to another. In cases of intentional torts, criminal prosecution may be brought against a defendant as well as civil action. 
 
 
There are two types of damages claimed in tort law: compensatory and punitive. Punitive damages are exceptional damages offered to the plaintiff when the injuries caused by the defendant were particularly heinous in nature, and are often awarded in intentional torts. The purpose of punitive damages in tort law is to punish the defendant for wrongdoing, deter future wrongdoing, and reward the plaintiff for pain and suffering.
 
 
Policy and Process:
 
 
Because the process of developing tort law is influenced heavily by precedence, there is a common public interest in the outcome of tort cases. The public has good reason to expect that they may be affected by the same policy in the future. Tort law deals with the process of weighing the interests of both parties in order to achieve a fair outcome, which can often be achieved by applying policy. 
 
 
However, when a court decides a case where no precedence has been set, they are affecting future policy. The process of developing tort law is constantly changing due to rulings in issues of first impression and by overruling outdated precedents.
 
 
Factors Affecting Tort Liability:
 
 
In order to determine liability in tort law, a court must decide whether the act committed by the defendant was unlawful and if there is a need for the defendant to compensate the plaintiff for the injuries incurred. 
 
 
Precedence is a large part of tort law; past judicial decisions will effect the opinion of the court. How each of the parties will bear the loss is also considered in determining liability. If the defendant is a larger group with the ability to shift its losses, as opposed to the plaintiff who may be financially ruined due to the injuries incurred, the courts may find a greater reason to hold the defendants responsible. The court will also determine whether the defendant's actions are due to negligence or a strict liability tort.
 
 
Motive:
 
 
Motive is the reasons behind a person's actions and may be broken down into intent and ulterior motive. Motive is taken into account in determining liability especially in cases where the defendant's and plaintiff's argument is evenly matched.  Especially in cases of aggravated offenses, such as fraud, violence, or cruelty, the defendant's improper motive will make it more likely for the plaintiff to receive punitive damages, which reward the plaintiff for pain and suffering.
 
In regards to personal injury law, motive is examined based on negligence and intentional torts. A person's motive in cases of negligence, when careless actions cause harm, is not to intentionally injure the plaintiff. Intentional torts, however, include motives to cause harm to another person.   
 
 
History- Trespass and Case:
 
   
Historically, a plaintiff could not bring suit against a defendant without obtaining a writ from the King which demanded that the case be heard before the courts. This system was very strict and only allowed for a plaintiff to collect damages under only two conditions: the action of trespass or the action of trespass on the case. The action of trespass is primarily related to criminal action- direct injuries to a plaintiff caused by a defendant. 
 
 
Trespass on the case deals injuries that could be traced back to the defendant's actions as a secondary cause. If the defendant's actions indirectly set into motion other actions which injured a plaintiff, the defendant could be held liable for trespass on the case. This concept of holding a defendant liable for causing injury to another and forcing the defendant to compensate for these injuries is where modern tort law originated.
 
 
General Plan:
 
   
In order to file a claim for personal injury and hold a defendant liable for compensation, a plaintiff must file a complaint and summon the defendant. This must be done within the statute of limitations, which is typically three years from the time of the accident. It is beneficial for a plaintiff to file a lawsuit immediately because there is a process of discovery and depositions which must take place before the case goes to trial. 
 
 
During this process all evidence and witnesses may be examined and questioned by both parties' attorneys. The parties are also given the option to settle the case, which may be facilitated by a mediator. If no settlement is reached, the case proceeds to trial where a judge or a judge and jury decide the case.