What is a tort?
A tort is a civil wrong, giving rise to a cause of action, independent of a contract. When a person violates his/her duty to others created under general law, a tort has been committed; a tort occurs when someone deliberately or through carelessness causes harm or loss to another person or his or her property. The four elements present in a tort lawsuit are: 1) the existence of a legal duty owed by a person to others; 2) the breach of the duty by one person; 3) the breach of the duty being the “proximate cause” of damages suffered by a person; 4) damages incurred by a person. A successful tort lawsuit will contain all of these elements. Auto accidents, medical malpractice claims, slip and fall claims, and asbestos exposure are all types of torts. People injured by a tort are eligible to recover for loss of earnings capacity, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and - in some cases - punitive damages.