What is a tort?
A tort is a wrongful action or omission that harms a person or business, prompting the injured party to seek compensation in civil court. As a result of committing a tort, the guilty person (the defendant or tortfeasor) bears legal liability.
How is a tort different from a crime?
A tort is a violation of common law, civil law, or social norms that lead to another party’s personal or financial loss. A crime, on the other hand, is a violation of municipal, state, or federal criminal statutes.
Another way to view the difference between tort and crime: A tort wrongs one individual, whereas a crime does harm to society as a whole. The remedy for a tort is commonly the payment of monetary damages, whereas the remedy for a crime can be a fine or a prison sentence.
General liability insurance can provide coverage for monetary damages if you lose a tort case in court.
What are the main types of business torts?
There are many different kinds of business torts. Some common ones include:
- Property torts: You damage someone else’s property.
- Liability torts: Your product or service hurts someone.
- Dignitary torts: Something you do or say harms a third party’s reputation.
- Infringement torts: You mistakenly or deliberately use another firm’s trademark or intellectual property.
- Negligence: In the course of delivering a service, you fail to meet professional standards, thereby harming your customer.
Learn more about torts that can lead to business lawsuits.
What are the legal remedies for torts?
If a third party – either a person or another business – hurts your company, consult an attorney immediately to get advice on how to best seek compensation. If you win the case, a judge will order the defendant to pay you damages.
Going to court is also an option if you want to put a stop to ongoing wrongful acts. A judge will do this by issuing a restraining order or injunction.
What should you do if accused of a tort?
If you or your company harmed a third party, who is now suing you for damages, consult with an attorney immediately.
Also notify your insurance company of the incident if you have general liability insurance, a business owner’s policy (BOP), or an umbrella / excess liability policy.
General liability insurance or a BOP – two of the most useful forms of small business insurance – will protect you in the event a court holds you legally liable for someone else’s personal, property, or financial loss. Both policies can cover your legal costs (attorney’s fees, court costs, expert witnesses) and any damages a judge orders you to pay the plaintiff.
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