What is a Tort?

Tarts are a breakfast food, a tort is not. What exactly does this word mean then? Actually, tort is simply another name for a lawsuit, or civil litigation.

Basic Definition

In such a legal event, one party feels that they have suffered damages or seeks to stop foreseeable damages from happening before they can occur. This is the plaintiff. The defense is the party alleged to have caused or otherwise be responsible for the damages in question.

A court date is given once the plaintiff has filed their complaint with the court. Both parties are then given notice and time to prepare for the court hearing. At hearing, arguments are made by both sides and an eventual decision is made as to presumed guilt or innocence as well as damages then owed.

Some Common Lawsuits

To better understand the matter as a whole, one could look to few examples of common cases taken before court. These cases are hypothetical but provide a good insight as to what kinds of issues reach the court and how they may be handled.

Dog-Bite Neighbors

One day, a teenager is bitten by his neighbor’s dog somewhere in front of the two homes. A lawsuit is subsequently filed on the premise that the dog was uncontrolled, bore a danger, and caused damage. When court day comes, the defense brings with them a key witness to the incident.

This witness is another, nearby resident that lives across the street from both homes. The witness lays a strong case for the defense in stating that he had seen the teenager actually enter the dog’s yard and approach the dog in a manner of antagonization and provocation. In the end, the case is thrown out based on a culpable defense and the plaintiff’s own fault in the matter.

The Wet Floor

In another case, we see a customer entering a grocery store immediately after the floors were mopped. The person slips and falls violently on the wet floor. The result is a broken collar bone, dislocated shoulder, and other, various injuries.

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A court hearing eventually results and both parties make their cases. While the defense claims the plaintiff was walking while distracted, the plaintiff’s case revolves around the fact that no warning signage had been placed so as to warn visitors of the hazard just inside the store’s doors. The plaintiff here wins based on the totality of all evidence seen by the court.

Permanence and Appeal

In many cases, those unhappy with a verdict will simply accept the outcome and abide by the court’s orders. In other cases, the losing party is not satisfied with this legal conclusion and an appeal is filed. The appeal is essentially a request for a rehearing of the matter before a higher court. Appeals and the search for the preferred legal conclusion can continue until the hearing has reached the US Supreme Court. Their ruling is final however. See http://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/types-cases/appeals for more detailed information on the appeals process.

All of the aforementioned mechanics are those of civil law, or the law that governs civil suits. Torts, or lawsuits are the civil disagreements that are settled by this type of court. For more information on tort court, civil litigation, and all other matters of judicial process, the United States Courts website at http://www.uscourts.gov/ provides a wealth of up-to-date and reliable knowledge.