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Anatomy of a Tort

The law is divided generally into two parts: civil and criminal. Civil law concerns relations between people and business. Criminal law concerns behavior that the government has regulated and prescribed.
There are basically two parts under the civil law: Contract and Tort. In general terms a contract is entered into voluntarily to commemorate duties and rights between people and/or corporations. Tort law involves duties between people/corporations not agreed to but for which remedies are available.


The practice of personal injury law involves seeking remedies for torts (usually negligence, but sometimes recklessness or intentional acts). A tort occurs when there is a duty, breach of the duty, damages and causation (actual and proximate) between the breach and the damages. There are many defenses that may be attempted including comparative fault, failure to mitigate damages, complicity, assumption of risk, sudden emergency, act of God, etc.  An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to analyze the admissible evidence and determine the merit of any defenses argued by the insurance company or its lawyers.


The practice will also involve on may occasions the interpretation of contract language (the insurance policy) and its application under the law to a particular set of facts. Coverage issues under liability, underinsured and uninsured provisions are most common.

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