What is a Tort Claim?
A tort claim is a civil claim that a person can file when someone or a corporation commits an act (or omission) that causes them injury or harm. As a result, tort law provides closure, relief, and financial compensation to parties who have been harmed, holds parties who cause harm liable for their actions, and deters others from committing similar harmful acts in the future.
What is a Tort?
A tort is a civil wrong that results in injury, harm, or loss. The person or party who caused the injury, harm, or loss can then be held legally liable for their actions. There are several types of tort claims. The type of claim you are trying to file may have different restrictions and needs, so who qualifies for each type of claim may change.
Torts also make up the foundation for mass torts—essentially torts at scale.
What is the Difference Between a Crime and a Tort?
While they sometimes overlap—especially in instances of assault or battery—crimes and torts are not always the same thing, which can cause some confusion when trying to figure out if you have a valid claim that can be taken to court.
- A crime is an illegal act that is punishable by law as an offense to society. A crime is prosecuted by government attorneys, be they local or federal.
- A tort is a wrong that causes harm, injury, or loss to an individual, but is not necessarily illegal or prohibited by law. A civil tort claim is litigated by a plaintiff and a defendant.
A civil tort claim is made up of four elements. In order to win a lawsuit for a tort claim, all four of these elements must be present:
- Duty – The defendant must have had a legal duty to act in a certain way.
- Breach – The defendant must have breached their duty.
- Injury – You must have an injury.
- Causation – Your injury must have resulted from the defendant’s breach of their duty.
What is the Burden of Proof in a Tort Case?
Because a tort case is a civil case, and you can’t just point to a law that was supposedly violated, a plaintiff has the burden of proving his or her case by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that the plaintiff must prove that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true, that is, that the duty was breached and caused harm to the plaintiff.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Tort Claim?
There is no set amount of time to settle a tort claim. This is because a settlement can occur at many different points in a dispute. A settlement can happen before a lawsuit is filed, during the litigation process, or even during trial—as long as the final verdict has not come back yet.
Depending on when in the process the settlement takes place, it could happen as soon as a few months after the claim was initially filed or take as long as several years. The exact amount of time it will take to settle a tort claim is highly dependent on the specific circumstances of your situation.
You can learn more about what’s involved in filing a tort claim here.
Contact an Experienced Tort Claim Expert Today
Those of us here at the Guardian Legal Network know that the process of filing a tort claim can be confusing. We are here to help. Let us know about your situation, and we can help you get the resource you need to make the process easier.
If you or a loved one has suffered and would like help seeking justice for your injuries, the Guardian Legal Network is here for you. We connect victims to experienced tort law lawyers, so you don’t have to navigate the legal system on your own. Contact Guardian Legal Network today.« Back to Glossary Index