Car accident cases can be instructive when it comes to gaining a general understanding of civil law cases and tort law.
If, for example, you were injured in a car accident because the other driver did something wrong, for example, he ran a red light, it’s fairly easy to understand the basic negligence concepts: that he owed you a duty of care, that he breached that duty by running the red light, and that you were damaged as a result.
Thus, car accident cases lend themselves to understanding one of the 3 tort law bases for a personal injury case—that of negligence.
But there are other tort law bases upon which a personal injury action can be predicated.
In today’s post, we are going to take a brief look at the 3 tort law bases for a personal injury case.
What is a Tort, Anyway?
But before we discuss the legal bases for a personal injury lawsuit, we should discuss what a “tort” is.
In law, a “tort” is a civil wrong. It can be intentional (for example, someone punches you in the nose) or it can be accidental (like a car accident).
Three Tort Law Bases
Because torts include unintentional wrongs, negligence is the most common basis upon which liability in personal injury cases are alleged and proved.
Another way of describing negligence is carelessness, or a lack of due care.
To prove negligence, you must show that the wrongdoer:
- Owed you a duty of care,
- Breached that duty of care,
- And that as a proximate or direct cause of that breach,
- You were damaged.
As noted above, negligence is one of the most common legal theories upon which a personal injury case is predicated.
It is easy to understand how the negligence theory works by looking at the example of a car accident.
Let’s suppose that you get into a car accident because the other driver ran a red light. You would show that he owed you a duty of care (to obey all traffic laws), that he breached that duty of care (he ran the red light), and that as a proximate result of that breach, you were damaged (property damage and personal injuries).
- Strict Liability
Strict liability is another basis upon which tort claims for personal injury can be alleged.
Unlike negligence, a strict liability claim does not take into account a party’s intentions—negligent, deliberate, or otherwise.
Strict liability imposes liability on a person without regard to fault. In other words, in a personal injury action based on strict liability, it does not matter whether the defendant acted negligently or with the highest degree of care possible. If certain conditions are met, he/she will be found strictly liable for any injuries caused.
Strict liability is most often applied in cases involving inherently dangerous activities.
There tend to be 3 types of activities that come within the purview of strict liability. These are:
- where a person keeps wild animals
- abnormally dangerous activities (like dynamite blasting)
- products liability cases
If a person is engaging in one of these types of activities and injury ensues, a defendant can be held strictly liable for any damage or injury caused.
- Intentional wrongdoing
This is where civil tort law most often crosses over into criminal law. Intentional torts can very often also be crimes. While the two may parallel each other, there are very distinct differences between civil liability and criminal punishment.
Nevertheless, intentional torts can be the basis of a personal injury claim. An obvious example of this would be civil law assault (an impending threat of unwanted touching) and battery (a touching) claim. So, if someone attacks you or shoots you, in addition to being a crime, it would also be an intentional tort that could be pursued in the civil court.
Personal injury cases can occur in a number of different ways. Each case is unique, and each may turn on a different legal basis.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Cumming, Georgia.
The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C., are here to help you. We serve clients in Atlanta, and in several counties throughout Georgia, including: Clayton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Douglas County, Fulton County, and Paulding County, among others. To find out how we can help you, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or contact us here.