The word “tort” has caused a fair amount of confusion among law students, lawyers, and their clients. What exactly is a tort? For starters, although pronounced the same, it is not a dessert. That is a torte.
What is Tort?
To put it simply a tort is a wrongful act that causes harm to another. Examples of torts include battery, assault, trespass, negligence, and nuisance. A victim of tort will often have a legal remedy as a result of suffering from the wrongful act of another. That legal remedy is going to be available through the civil justice system and will often take the form of a lawsuit that could be brought against the wrongful actor – or tortfeasor.
What makes it Tort?
Some tortious acts are intentional and others are unintentional. Each tort is comprised of specific legal elements which must be established to obtain relief or compensation. The well-known elements of a simple negligence claim are
- duty – Did the defendant have a duty to the victim?
- breach – Was the duty breached by the defendant?
- cause – Was the victim’s injuries caused by the beach in duty?
- harm – Can you prove that the victim sustained injuries because of the beach in duty?
These same elements also apply to more complicated medical malpractice claims. To establish the appropriate standard of care in a medical malpractice claim, however, an expert witness is required to provide sworn testimony regarding what the specific duty of a given care provider is under the facts and circumstances of the claim.
Tort law is complicated and each potential claim will have variations from the next. In Florida, some must be brought within four years and others must be brought within one year. That’s why it is important to speak with an attorney who has experience practicing in this area if you think you may have been a victim of a tort or a wrongful act of another that caused some harm to you. Please do not hesitate to call Michles & Booth for a free consultation if you or a loved one has been harmed by the act or omission of another.