The legal term tort refers to a civil wrong. Torts law, therefore, includes cases of intentional wrongs and negligence that result in harm. Torts laws are one of the major areas of legal specialty (alongside contract, criminal, and property) and results annually in more litigation than any other type of law. Civil wrongs, which tort law addresses, are generally resolved by awarding financial damages to the aggrieved party.
Torts Law and Consequences
Torts laws rest on the legal premise that individuals are liable for the consequences of their actions if those actions result in the injury of others. Most tort cases become civil suits, brought into the court system in order to protect the rights of the individual. Intentional torts are actions taken against other individuals intended to cause harm. Negligence torts occur when an individual or party fails to demonstrate concern and results in harm. Strict liability torts impose penalties without finding fault.
Torts law differs from criminal law in several major respects. First, torts can result from simple negligence in addition to intentional or criminal action. For example, cases of medical malpractice (negligence) fall under torts law. Second, torts law has a lower burden of proof, generally the preponderance of evidence, than criminal cases, which must be ruled by beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, OJ Simpson was found not guilty in his famous criminal case, but liable for the tort of wrongful death in a later, civil trial.