Tort is a word you often hear, but most people don’t know what it means. If you’ve been injured in an accident or because of the actions of another person, it’s helpful to understand tort claims. Being familiar with tort law can help you understand your rights and ensure you know when you’re entitled to compensation for your injuries. 

To help with that, here’s an overview of a tort claim in Texas. Understanding what tort claims are and the different types can be helpful if you’ve sustained an injury. 

An experienced Fort Worth personal injury lawyer can help evaluate your tort claim and rights. 

What Is a Tort? 

The legal definition of a tort is an action or omission by one party that causes harm to another party for which courts can assign liability. More simply, a tort claim is a right to sue an individual or entity to recover damages for injuries caused by their actions. 

It’s a civil action where an injured party, the plaintiff, can sue the responsible party, the defendant, to recover damages. Damages in tort cases can be both economic and non-economic

Examples of economic damages include medical expenses, past and future lost wages, lost earning capacity, household care, physical therapy and rehab bills, and property damage

Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of consortium, physical impairment, and decreased enjoyment of life

What Are the Types of Tort Claims? 

Torts encompass a broad category of claims with many different types of cases. That said, there are three types of tort claims: intentional, negligent, and strict liability. To help you understand these categories, here’s an overview of each category, what’s necessary to bring each type of claim, and examples of each type of tort claim. 

Intentional Tort Claims 

Intentional torts are tort claims arising from the intentional and deliberate actions of the defendant. To successfully bring an intentional tort claim, you have to show that a defendant acted purposefully or knowingly.  

Examples of intentional torts include: 

  • Slander
  • Libel 
  • Assault and battery 
  • Fraud 
  • False imprisonment
  • Trespassing 
  • Conversion 

Each type of intentional tort has unique elements that you have to prove. That said, the general framework for these claims is proving that the defendant acted with intent and caused harm to the plaintiff. For specifics about what you have to prove for each type of tort, it’s a good idea to contact a Texas personal injury lawyer. 

It’s important to note that torts are always civil cases. Individuals bring tort claims, and tort claims seek monetary compensation instead of criminal consequences. In a civil case, the defendant cannot be jailed or incur a criminal record. Instead, the injured party seeks compensation for the injuries caused by the defendant. 

In intentional tort cases, it’s common for defendants to also face criminal charges. However, the criminal case is a separate case brought by the government and completely independent from the civil tort brought by an injured party. 

Negligent Torts

Negligence claims are the type of tort claim that occurs the most. In these cases, plaintiffs seek compensation for injuries caused by the negligence of the defendant. Or, the plaintiff is injured as a result of the defendant not acting as a reasonable person would in the same circumstances. 

Examples of negligence tort claims include: 

There are four elements to prove in negligence cases: 

  1. The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care; 
  2. The defendant breached that duty
  3. The breach caused the plaintiff’s injury; and 
  4. The injury resulted in damages to the plaintiff. 

If you prove the four elements of negligence, you may be entitled to compensation

Strict Liability 

The third category of tort claims is strict liability. In these cases, a party is responsible for damages regardless of whether they acted intentionally or negligently. Examples of strict liability cases are product liability cases, animal attacks, and ultrahazardous activities. 

To prove a strict liability case, a plaintiff must show: 

  1. Proof of injury; 
  2. That the action of the defendant caused the injury or a product caused the injury; and 
  3. The defendant’s actions were unreasonably hazardous or the defendant had control over the product. 

Transporting chemicals or explosives are examples of abnormally hazardous activities that expose a business or individual to strict liability. In these activities, even if parties take reasonable precautions and follow all safety requirements, they can be responsible for injuries caused by their actions. 

What Is the Purpose of Tort Claims

Tort claims exist for two primary purposes. First, they offer a way for the injured party, or plaintiff, to get compensation for their injuries. We often call this “making the plaintiff whole.” Tort laws provide a way for injured parties to get compensation from the responsible party for their economic and non-economic damages. 

Second, tort claims deter bad behavior. By holding people responsible for their actions, tort law deters intentional behavior and encourages people to act reasonably. One of the primary goals of tort law is to discourage people from engaging in or repeating bad behaviors. 

When Does the Texas Tort Claims Act Apply

Generally, government agencies and government employees are immune from lawsuits, including tort claims. However, the Texas Tort Claims Act provides an exception to this rule in certain circumstances. 

Under the Texas Tort Claims Act, the state’s immunity is waived for injuries caused by government employees when the employee acts within the scope of their employment, and the employee would have been liable if they had not been a government employee. 

It’s important to note that while the TTCA offers ways to bring tort claims against government entities, the exception is limited. The damages in these cases are usually capped, and there are additional procedural requirements that plaintiffs must follow. 

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.

Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 420-7000

Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
109 York Ave Suite #201
Weatherford, TX 76086
(817) 409-7000