Tort Definition

The "Legal-Ease" Glossary
Tort

A civil wrong that causes someone unfair loss or harm.

Torts are the wrong action that caused a lawsuit. Tort law is distinguished from criminal law in two ways:

  1. Torts may result from negligence that is neither intentional nor criminal.
  2. Tort lawsuits require a lower burden of proof than criminal cases.

In other words, you can be responsible for doing something wrong even if you didn't intend to do it. For instance, you can be sued for having a slippery floor after it rain. Torts result in legal liability for the tortfeasor, the person who committed the tortious act.

When a person brings a lawsuit against your business, it will most likely be a tort, which is precisely the reason small-business owners carry liability insurance. "Tort" should never be confused with "torte," which is a delicious, multilayered cake.

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