A Brief Guide to Tort LawWhat is Tort law? Tort law is one of the major areas of law. Three of the other major areas are contract law, real property law, and criminal law. Tort law actually accounts for more civil litigation than any other category of law. At its most basic, a tort is a wrongful act (or civil wrong) that causes harm for which the person who caused the harm is legally responsible. Harm is not limited to physical injuries, but also extends to economic, emotional, or reputational harm in addition to violations of property, privacy, or constitutional rights. Torts can be, but are not necessarily, criminal acts as well.
Types of TortsIt is not our intent to attempt to list every action that can be considered tortious. Instead, we hope to provide you with a relatively simple resource of some major types of actions that can be considered torts under law.
Tort Law Vs Criminal LawLaw Unlike criminal acts, torts can result from negligent actions that are neither intentional nor have criminal intent behind them. For example, a negligent driver who causes a car accident probably didn't have any intention or criminal desire to cause harm, but their actions could still have resulted in harm for which they are liable. Additionally, tort lawsuits generally have a lower burden of proof than criminal cases. In most criminal cases, guilt has to be established beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, tort cases, being civil rather than criminal in nature, follow the standard of preponderance of evidence, also known as the balance of probabilities. This standard is met when the proposition is more likely to be true than not true. It is interesting to note that, with the lower burden of proof, it is possible for a person to be acquitted in a criminal case but found liable under tort law. Probably the most famous example of this is O.J. Simpson being acquitted of murder but found guilty of the tort of wrongful death. When a person has been the victim of a wrongful act under tort law, they will want to seek the advice of a lawyer who can help them seek the recovery of damages. In many tort cases, damages include medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of earnings capacity. If you or someone you know has been the victim in an Iowa car accident, it's important to contact a trusted attorney's office to learn how they can help you pursue your rights under tort law.
- Dignitary Torts (e.g. Invasion of Privacy, Defamation of Character, Libel, and Slander)
- Economic Torts (e.g. Fraud)
- Intentional Torts (e.g. Assault, Battery, and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress)
- Liability Torts (e.g. Product Liability)
- Negligent Torts (e.g. Malpractice and Car Accidents Caused by Negligent Driving)
- Property Torts (e.g. Trespass and Theft)
- Toxic Torts (e.g. Environmental Pollution)