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Personal Injury Law

Introduction

What are the basic types of torts?

Torts are divided into three general categories: (1) intentional torts, (2) torts of negligence, and (3) strict liability torts. The three types differ based on the intent of the defendant or tortfeasor (the person who allegedly commits a tort). Intentional torts occur when a tortfeasor acts knowing that a certain result will occur or with substantial certainty that a harmful result will occur. Negligent acts occur when you act carelessly or recklessly enough to cause harm to another.

For example, if you intentionally ram your car into the rear of your friend’s car, you have committed the intentional tort of battery. However, if you accidentally run into the rear of your friend’s car, you were negligent. You did not intend to harm your friend’s property, but you acted carelessly enough to be liable in tort for your negligent or faulty conduct.

Strict liability applies in tort law in special circumstances when a defendant does not intend harm (as in many intentional tort situations) or when a defendant is negligent. Strict liability applies when a defendant engages in certain dangerous activities, such as the storing of flammable liquids or the transportation of toxic materials. Strict liability often applies for harm caused by a person’s trespassing animal. Again, you should check your applicable state law to determine when strict liability applies in tort law.



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