Basics Of Tort

‘Tort’ is a word derived from the Latin term ‘tortum’ which means twisted. This essentially means a conduct that is not straight or lawful.

Tort can further be defined as a civil wrong which is redressable by an action for unliquidated damages and which is other than a mere breach of contract or breach of trust.

  • It is basically a wrong that causes a claimant (plaintiff) to suffer loss or harm, resulting in legal liability for the person (defendant) who commits the tortious act.
  • Unliquidated damages are a significant remedy for a tort since it may not be always possible to restore or indemnify the original condition of the plaintiff. Once the damage is suffered, it can only be compensated and paid in terms of damages.
  • Tort is a civil wrong other than a mere breach of contract or breach of trust. For example: If a person agrees to buy a bicycle from a store but is unable to do so, it will fall under the category of breach of trust. It will not amount as a tort. Damages in Tort are always unliquidated. Damages in Breach of the contract are liquidated damages.

Essentials of Torts:

  1. Act/Omission- There must be an act that the defendant should not have done or omission of an act that he was supposed to do for it to be a tort.
  2. Legal Damage- The act or omission should result in the damage of a legal right of the plaintiff. The plaintiff has to prove that there was a damage to his legal right because of the act or omission of the defendant.
  3. Malice- The wrongful act or omission must be done intentionally and without a just cause.
  4. Evil Motive- Motive means an ulterior reason for a conduct. When the defendant does a wrongful act with a feeling of spite vengeance or ill will, the act is said to be done maliciously.

Tort Vs Crime:

Tort is a private wrong and there is an aggrieved party who files a case against the other party whereas in case of a crime the state brings the case against the accused.

In case of Torts, the ends of justice are met by compensating the aggrieved party and in case of a crime, the punishment inflicted on the wrong doer.

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