Understanding Tort Law
The word “Tort” has its origins in the Latin “tortus” which means “crooked” or “wrong”.In Canada’s legal system, Tort law has an important place. Tort laws have been created by judges over the years.The primary purpose is not to punish the accused, but to provide compensation for losses or damages.
A tort is essentially a civil (rather than a criminal) wrong in which the victim seeks compensation from the wrongdoer. Tort law affects many aspects of modern life including everything from property and real estate holdings, business, family, your pets, the sports you play and even your personal freedom and reputation.
Torts are often divided into three categories:
- Intentional torts
- Negligence based torts
- Strict liability torts
A victim of an intentional tort must prove that the other party deliberately caused harm or loss.Those torts include assault, battery, false imprisonment and even invasion of privacy.
In a negligence case, however, it is only necessary for the victim to prove that the other party did not use reasonable care in a circumstance where they owed a duty to the victim. Common negligence based torts include car accidents, slip and falls as well as legal or other types of professional malpractice.
Strict liability torts are rarely seen cases in which a victim suffers damages as a result of an escape of some substance due to another’s “non-natural” use of land.In those cases, the victim does not have to prove that the other party acted intentionally or even negligently.
Since tort law was developed by judges on a case by case basis it has evolved with society over the years.Tort laws continue to evolve to this day.