What Are The Law Of Torts?
Tort is a term which is generally not used in our daily conversations, but if
you are indulged in any type of civil lawsuit, you may come across this word.
The topic "Law of Torts" includes various areas in legal practice. Generally, it
covers all suits of civil law except contractual disputes.
The lawsuits which involve contracts come under Contract law, which is governed
by Indian Contract Act, 1872 in India. The term 'tort' is a French word which in
english means 'wrong' and in roman equalises to the term 'delict'. The word
'tort' is derived from the latin word 'Tortum' which generally means 'twisted'.
When one twists or deviates from his straightforward path, he is considered to
have committed a tort.
Legally, a tort is defined as "a wrongful act or an infringement of a right
which leads to a civil legal liberty." In general, tort occurs when a party
inflicts some damage or injury on another party, and the injured party sues the
other party for compensation. The concept of tort law is to redress a wrong done
to a person and provide relief for the wrongful act of another party.
Usually, the damages are monetary/un-liquidated damages (the compensation should
not be previously determined or agreed between the parties) which are decided by
a court of law based on the merits of the case. The original intent of the tort
law is to provide the cost of the incurred damages or injuries. The injury can
be of any type, physical injury, mental injury, economic injury, or an injury to
your definition. In torts, the injured party is known as the plaintiff and the
party which has caused damage is called the defendant.
What Is Tort Law Liability?
The party that commits a tort is known as a tortfeasor. The term 'tortfeasor'
can be referred to a single person or any group of persons. The contribution of
each and every tortfeasor can be different and varies from the degree of damage
they have inflicted upon the victim. Sometimes, the victim is also made liable
with the tortfeasors if his action also contributed to the injury that is
inflicted. The person who commits a tortious act is not referred to as guilty
A tortfeasor incurs the tort liability, thus, has to reimburse the plaintiff
with the cost that is determined by the court of law. The tortfeasor is always
bound to pay the damages to the injured party. There are various kinds of
liabilities under Tort law:
- Joint Liability
- Vicarious Liability
- Liability for Third Person
- Victim Liability
- Parent Liability
- Strict Liability
- Absolute Liability
When several tortfeasors are held liable for any tortious act, then they all are
termed as Joint Tortfeasors. Generally, it can be said that for a case there is
only one plaintiff but the number of defendants are more than one. The liability
of all the defendants arises equally. The amount of the compensation is divided
between all the defendants on the basis of degree of liability (i.e. the amount
of damage inflicted by the tortfeasor on the victim) and the rules and the
provisions which are particularly related to the jurisdiction. If the case
arises that one defendant compensates the victim with the complete damage
awarded by the court, then the victim can't force the other defendants for the
compensation of their part. Business Partnership can be considered as the
example of this Liability.
When superiors are held liable for the tortious act committed by their
subordinates or juniors. This liability is also known as Employers's liability.
Basically, an employer will be held responsible for the faulty acts of their
employee in the course of his employment. Constitutional tort liability can be
considered as one of the frequently seen example in India, where the state is
held liable for the act of its employees.
Liability For Third Person
There are some instances in which Third-Party Interactions can lead to
occurrence of liabilities. This mostly occurs in the cases of Insurance claims.
If seen through the perspective of the business owner, when any other party
claims over the insurance formed between the first and second party, it is known
as the third party liability insurance.
The case of liability in which the victim himself contributes to the tortious
act. This type of liability is also called Plaintiff's liability. This often
occurs when the victim doesn't take a reasonable amount of care, and hence the
negligence takes place, thus, making him liable too. This can be consequential
and may result in the damages to be reduced or completely barred. Rash and
negligent driving by the victim can be a good example for this liability.
When parents are held liable for the tortious acts committed by their children.
In this liability, it is generally a case in which the child is minor. There can
be various examples in which Parent Liability occurs.
This liability occurs when a tortious act is committed by a person even without
any intention of violating a statute. Still, anyhow, the act leads to the
violation of any statute of any right of any person or entity. In such
situations, the party has the obligation to prove that the defendant is liable
for the tortious act and the party has no fault (i.e. no tortious intention).
The Bhopal Gas Tragedy is one of the most famous examples of this liability.
When the law holds a person or entity legally responsible for committing an act
or offence without considering any element of fault or intention. The absolute
liability was, therefore, evolved in the Oleum gas leak case (M.C.Mehta v. Union
). This can be said to be a strong legal tool against rogue corporations
that were negligent towards health risks for the public. A defendant will not be
in position to limit his or her liability on the grounds that there was a
reasonable mistake of fact.
Thus, the liability in law of torts can take on many different forms depending
on the circumstances of the incident. Generally, tort liability is associated
with monetary awards, but some forms of liability may lead to other remedies
(such as restraining order or an injunction).