Tort law is essentially all civil lawsuits. Every civil lawsuit except for contractual disputes falls under the category of tort law.
The whole premise behind tort law is to provide a victim of some wrongdoing with monetary damages as compensation. However, not every tort case is successful and this is because of the elements of tort law.
For any civil lawsuit to be successful, there need to be four elements of tort law present and proven in court.
In this post, we’ll outline the four elements of tort law. After reading this post, you’ll know where you stand in any potential tort lawsuit case.
A Duty Of Care
A duty of care must always be present in any tort law claim if it’s to be successful. This is basically stating that there is a duty of care on part of the person or the manufacturer of some product that must be upheld. For example, drivers of cars have a duty of care to drive safely and not intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
Going with the example above, let’s say you have Brian who can legally drive in the UK and has his own car. Well, Brian has a certain duty of care that he must adhere to at all times as a responsible driver and not engage in behaviours that could endanger others. Examples of this duty of care he has are not getting behind the wheel drunk or affected by drugs.
This is a duty of care Brian has that is enforceable by law so he must adhere to it at all times.
Breaching Duty Of Care
We’ve established in the previous section that Brian has a certain duty of care and legal responsibility he must adhere to. If he were to breach this care, whether it’s intentional or unintentional, he could be liable for a tort.
For example, if he was to drive his car drunk and then run a red light, which resulted in an accident then he would be found guilty of breaching his duty of care. Therefore, he’d be liable for a tort.
Causation Which Results In Suffering
This part is crucial for a tort case because there needs to be the action that has caused suffering for the victim. In the absence of the cause, there is no case for a tort.
A key aspect of causation that a court will explore is whether or not the victim’s injuries would have occurred had the offender not committed the specific action that resulted in the injury to the victim.
Let’s return to the case of Brian being drunk and running a red light. If while running a red light, he crashed into another car, which resulted in the other driver becoming permanently brain damaged from the crash, then this would be sufficient causation for a tort.
Damage Or Injury?
This is a crucial part of the puzzle because without the damage or injury sustained then there is no basis for a tort lawsuit. Let’s roll with the case of Brian above. The other driver he crashed into must have sustained some sort of injury from his negligent actions. If there is an absence of physical, mental, or emotional damage then Brian cannot be liable for a tort.
It’s also important that these damages are proven for there to be a legitimate case. To prove mental and emotional damages, you’d need to get expert proof from professionals in this area. To prove physical damages, advice from medical professionals would be required.
What Happens If A Tort Is Proved
If all the four elements of tort law above are present then a tort has been committed. In this case there is going to be a court case where either damages or an injunction occurs.
There are various damages that can be awarded in this instance such as full compensation where the victim must be fully compensated monetarily for his/her suffering.
However, there are various subcategories of damages that can be awarded like nominal damages, special damages, aggravated damages, and more. Victims will pursue any of the damages most applicable to their specific situation in order to get the compensation they deserve.
Ultimately, it’s up to the court to decide what damages will be awarded.
Final Words: Elements Of Tort Law
Torts can be a complex part of the law to understand because there are many specifics that can be involved within each of the elements of tort law that could potentially mean that a tort has been committed.
However, the most important thing to point out is that unless the four elements of tort law mentioned in this post are present, then there can be no case for a tort.
If you still don’t understand the elements of tort law or you need help preparing a potential civil lawsuit then click the image below.