What is the Difference Between a Tort and a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

June 1, 2020

Here at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, we’ve helped many Louisianans who have been injured through no fault of their own due to the carelessness of others. This is true whether the at-fault parties were distracted drivers, negligent property managers, or the manufacturers of harmful consumer products.

We call ourselves personal injury lawyers, but another word you may have heard tossed around in relation to your injury claim is “tort.” So, what is a tort, and how is it different than a personal injury claim?

What is a Tort?

A tort is any wrong committed against someone that causes injury or harm, and that can be tried in a civil court. That sounds a lot like a personal injury, but the definition of a tort is a bit wider.

All personal injury lawsuits are torts, but not all torts are personal injury lawsuits. There are three main types of torts.

  1. Intentional Torts: This is harm or injury that is intentionally caused. Common examples include assault and battery, trespassing, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
  2. Negligent Torts: This type of tort occurs when someone fails to show a reasonable amount of care and injures or harms someone else as a result. Most personal injury claims fall into this category. Examples include car accidents, slip and falls, and medical malpractice.
  3. Strict Liability Torts: In this type of tort, it doesn’t matter if the defendant took a reasonable amount of care or not, only that the injury occurred, and the defendant was at fault. This type of tort is common for abnormally dangerous activities (such as blasting dynamite), ownership of certain animals (such as dogs that have bitten before), and product liability.

What is a Mass Tort?

When we talk about torts here, we typically mean mass torts surrounding defective products or drugs that have caused significant harm to users. For example, claims against the manufacturers of feminine hygiene products containing talcum powder that may increase a user’s risk of ovarian cancer are considered mass torts.

Unlike a car accident where you were the only victim, or a multi-car pileup where many people contributed fault, a mass tort is a single action that harms many people.

What’s the Difference Between a Mass Tort Lawsuit and a Class Action Lawsuit?

When you are part of a mass tort, you are still treated as an individual. This means the court will hear about how you, specifically, were injured by the product or drug. In a class action, just one person from the whole group stands in as everyone’s representative.

Why to Consider Joining a Mass Tort Lawsuit After an Injury

When a large group of people have been harmed by the same defective product or drug, coming together in a mass tort can help improve their chances of getting the compensation they deserve.

One member of a mass tort can use any of the evidence gathered as part of the mass tort in their own trial, but the success of their case isn’t tied to someone else. That means the opportunity for compensation is greater than in a class action, where you could potentially receive only a small amount of money or no money at the conclusion, and never go in front of a judge yourself.

How to Win a Tort Claim

Most of the cases we try are negligent torts, and we’ve perfected the process of both compiling evidence that proves you were not at fault for your own injuries and calculating the full damages you are owed for the defendant’s negligence.

There are four key things we’ll prove throughout your case.

  1. Duty – The defendant had a duty to provide a reasonable amount of care toward the people around them, whether that meant driving within the speed limit, or warning shoppers when the floor is wet and potentially dangerous to walk on.
  2. Breach of Duty – The defendant failed to exhibit a reasonable amount of care.
  3. Injury – You suffered injuries or harm.
  4. Causation – Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty of care. 

Talk to a Lawyer About Your Injury Claim for Free

Suffering an injury that wasn’t your fault, and knowing you have no way to pay your bills until you can get back to work, is a horrible feeling. Believing you have no way to hold the people who caused your accident responsible and have no choice but to go into debt is worse. But we want you to know that isn’t the cause.

When someone injures you, even unintentionally, you can file a negligent tort claim, otherwise known as a personal injury lawsuit, to get the compensation you need from their insurance.

And at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, our No Fee Guarantee® means you pay us nothing, unless we win. Even your initial consultation is free.

Don’t put off getting the help you need; contact us today to discuss your claim.