What Are the Elements of Torts?

The specific elements of a tort depend on the type of tort and how the courts in the applicable jurisdiction require it to be established, according to the Legal Information Institute. All torts have at least two common elements: the causation and the resulting harm or damages inflicted.

Torts are civil wrongs recognized by law as grounds for a lawsuit between individual parties, according to the Legal Information Institute. Conduct that gives rise to a tort claim may also constitute a crime, but tort law aims to provide relief to the party who was harmed.

There are different categories of torts, according to the Legal Information Institute, including intentional torts based on intentional conduct, negligent torts such as causing an accident by failing to stop at a red light and strict liability torts such as putting a defective product in the stream of commerce.

Each type of tort has its own required elements. For example, the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress has four elements, according to the Legal Information Institute. First, the defendant must act intentionally or recklessly. Additionally, the defendant's conduct must be extreme and outrageous. Third, the conduct must be the cause of the fourth element, severe emotional distress. In a case for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff would need to prove each of these elements in order to prevail.

Once a tort is proved, a plaintiff can seek damages or injunctive relief to prevent the conduct from continuing.