What Is A Tort? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Personal injury basics

What Is A Tort?

A tort is a private or civil wrong or injury (other than breach of contract) for which a court of law may provide a remedy through a lawsuit for damages (compensation). When a person violates his/her duty to others created under general (or statutory) law, a tort has been committed.

The four elements present in a typical tort lawsuit are:

  • The existence of a legal duty owed by a person to others
  • The breach of the duty by one person (negligence). A person is negligent when he or she fails to act like the standard "ordinary reasonable person". Of course the critical issue in many cases is just how an "ordinary, reasonable person" was expected to act in the particular situation that caused the injury.
  • The breach of the duty being the proximate cause of damages suffered by a person. "Proximate cause" is the initial act which sets off a natural and continuous sequence of events that produces injury. In the absence of the initial act which produces injury, no injury would have resulted. Any time you act, you start a series of natural and continuous events to occur (for example, after swinging your arm with a ball in your hand, you release it and the ball then rolls down a hill).
  • Damages incurred by a person.

Each of the four elements of a tort typically must be present to be compensated.

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