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Personal Injury

Tortious Liability

Tortious liability arises when someone is injured or suffers a loss due to another person’s actions or their negligence. If you have been affected and it was not your fault, our tort lawyers are here to help you to make a negligence claim and, as far as possible, to put things right.

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What is tort law?

Tort is a civil law that protects those who have suffered loss or harm as a result of another person’s intentional unlawful actions or as a result of their negligence.

If you have suffered a personal injury that was not your fault, then your case will be brought under negligence. When a person has a legal duty of care towards you and breaches that duty, they have acted negligently.

Negligence can result in injury, financial loss, psychological illness, and it can have numerous other consequences.

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How are damages calculated in tort law?

Damages in tort law are subject to three principles:

  • Remoteness
  • Causation
  • Mitigation

These three principles determine whether compensation will be awarded to the Claimant (person making a claim).

Remoteness is whether the Defendant (the person who the action is being taken against) could be expected to have foreseen the accident.
Causation is whether an injury was a direct result of a negligent act. If the injury or loss is likely to have occurred anyway, then causation would not be met.
Mitigation is how far the Claimant has tried to mitigate their loss. For example, if their car was written off, did they arrange to go to work by bus, or did they stay at home? If they could reasonably have been expected to get to work without their car, then compensation for loss of earnings would not be awarded.

The types of compensation awarded are

  • General damages – This is compensation for pain, suffering and emotional distress.
  • Special damages – This is financial compensation that covers loss of earnings and all the other costs that the Claimant has incurred due to their injury or loss. Special damages may also include likely future losses.

In some cases, the Defendant may be ordered to pay punitive damages. This is extra money the Defendant pays as a punishment to deter them from repeating their behaviour in the future. Punitive damages are generally paid where behaviour is malicious or grossly reckless.

What is the difference between contract law and tort law?

In contract, the rights and obligations of each party are set out in a written or verbal agreement.

In tort law, rights and obligations are set out by law.

The biggest similarity between contract law and tort law is that if one party breaches their duties (in the case of tort law, this is often ‘duty of care’), then legal action can be taken against them. The person who has suffered could claim compensation against the other party.

When compensation is awarded in tort, the aim is to put the injured party back into the same position they were in before the negligent or criminal act occurred. In contract, the aim is to put the injured party back into the position they were in before the Contract started.


Speak to a tort lawyer

If you have suffered an injury or loss that was not your fault, please talk to our experienced tort lawyers.

Have any questions or need any help?

Our team of specialist lawyers are experts in their field. Be confident in their advice and decisions to help get the right outcome for you. Contact us today to see how we can help

Tortious Liability FAQs

Proximity in tort law refers to a claimant’s distance between an event in time and space. For example, to claim psychological damage compensation after witnessing an accident, the Claimant may have to show:

• They have a close relationship with the victim.
• They were close in time and space to the incident.
• They were present in the immediate aftermath.

Strict liability is when there is no question that a defendant is to blame for a claimant’s injury. For example, if the defendant owns dangerous animals, or they have sold a dangerously defective product.

Distributive justice is about the fair distribution of benefits and burdens among a similar group of people. For instance, if a group of workers receive the same pay but some of them are working longer hours than others, then distributive justice has not occurred.

If a disabled person is injured at work because ‘reasonable adjustments’ were not made by their employer, then distributive justice has not occurred. People must be given the resources they need to perform their job on a level playing field with others, as far as possible.

Battery is causing intentional physical harm to another person through unlawful contact, such as intentionally running someone over, stabbing them with a weapon or striking them with an object.

Higher levels of compensation are often awarded for battery cases.

Tort reform refers to changes to tort law. Changes may be made due to frivolous claims being brought before courts, unreasonably high levels of damages being awarded, or where the law is having unplanned, negative consequences (for example, where fear of litigation is hindering innovation).

A recent example of changes to the law surrounding whiplash claims was brought in to respond to fraudulent and exaggerated claims for compensation.