What Is a Tort Claim?

A tort is a legal claim filed with the intention of providing relief for a civil wrong. The Legal Information institute of Cornell University identifies three main categories of tort: intentional tort, negligent tort and strict liability tort. Torts are not necessarily crimes and generally do not result in the imprisonment of the defendant.

Tort claims are meant to redress civil wrongs that affect a person’s physical health, psychological well-being, economic condition, reputation or social standing, according to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Many tort claims revolve around injury, property damage and malfunctioning products or services.

The Cornell Legal Information Institute identifies intentional tort as a civil wrong for which the defendant knew or should have known the harmful consequences of his actions. An example is intentionally running into someone’s car. A negligence tort is the result of unsafe actions that demonstrate a disregard for the law and others’ welfare, for instance, crashing a car due to disobeying traffic signals. Strict liability tort occurs when a person is considered liable for a wrong without regard to degree of negligence. A claim against a person whose rabid dog bit someone is an example of strict liability tort.

Specific torts may include trespass, assault, battery, product liability and intentional infliction of emotional distress, states Cornell’s Legal Information Institute. If successful in the suit, the injured party may recover financial damages.