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in law, the violation of some duty clearly set by law, not by a specific agreement between two parties, as in breach of contractcontract,
in law, a promise, enforceable by law, to perform or to refrain from performing some specified act. In a general sense, all civil obligations fall under tort or contract law.
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. When such a duty is breached, the injured party has the right to institute suit for compensatory damagesdamages,
money award that the judgment of a court requires the defendant in a suit to pay to the plaintiff as compensation for the loss or injury inflicted. Damages are the form of legal redress most commonly sought.
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. Certain torts, such as nuisancenuisance,
in law, an act that, without legal justification, interferes with safety, comfort, or the use of property. A private nuisance (e.g., erecting a wall that shuts off a neighbor's light) is one that affects one or a few persons, while a public nuisance (e.g.
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, may be suppressed by injunctioninjunction,
in law, order of a court directing a party to perform a certain act or to refrain from an act or acts. The injunction, which developed as the main remedy in equity, is used especially where money damages would not satisfy a plaintiff's claim, or to protect personal
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. Many crimes are also torts; burglary, for instance, often constitutes trespasstrespass,
in law, any physical injury to the person or to property. In English common law the action of trespass first developed (13th cent.) to afford a remedy for injuries to property.
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The history of Anglo-American tort law can be traced back to the action for trespass to property or to the person. Not until the late 18th cent. was the currently observed distinction made between injury willfully inflicted and that which is unintentional. In the early 19th cent., negligencenegligence,
in law, especially tort law, the breach of an obligation (duty) to act with care, or the failure to act as a reasonable and prudent person would under similar circumstances.
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 was distinguished as a separate tort, and it has come to supply a large portion of tortious litigation.

The general tendency today is to rule that the breach of any duty constitutes a tort, rather than to rule that an alleged tort must fit into some previously recognized variety, such as assault, false imprisonment, or libel. Some courts treat any willful unjustified injury as tortious, while others hold that the act must be defined as tortious by law, regardless of the perpetrator's motive. Torts that injure reputation or feelings are personal torts; those violating statutory rights are constitutional torts; those involving real or personal property are property torts. Property torts include several classes of torts, such as automobile accidents, negligence, product liability, and medical malpracticemalpractice,
failure to provide professional services with the skill usually exhibited by responsible and careful members of the profession, resulting in injury, loss, or damage to the party contracting those services.
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In some areas, tort liabilityliability,
in law, an obligation of one party to another, usually to compensate financially. It is a fundamental aspect of tort law, although liability may also arise from duties entered into by special agreement, as in a contract or in the carrying out of a fiduciary duty.
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 can be assigned without a finding of fault, as in no-fault automobile insurance. In areas where the finding of fault remains crucial, and the awards of compensatory or punitive damages can be substantial, tort litigation can be time-consuming and costly. Its defenders claim tort litigation promotes safety and economic efficiency, while critics argue the process does little but raise insurance premiums while providing windfalls to a handful of lawyers. Efforts to reform tort law hope to set limits to damage settlements and to broaden no-fault statutes for use in alternative forms of litigation. In the 1990s many U.S. states, pressed chiefly by conservatives and business interests, passed laws limiting damages, but state courts have repeatedly voided these limits as violations of "open courts" guarantees in state constitutions.

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Law a civil wrong arising from an act or failure to act, independently of any contract, for which an action for personal injury or property damages may be brought
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In that case, Clinton might still have appointed him to the bench, and Guido might still have had the satisfaction of citing Some Thoughts on Risk Distribution and the Law of Torts in an opinion that broadly construed the doctrine of respondeat superior.
Fleming wrote nothing substantial on the law of tort between his 1953 article and his The Law of Torts in 1957, but, after being appointed the first Robert Garran Professor of Law at CUC in 1955, he delivered his inaugural lecture in October 1956.
modern tort law: "[T]he general purpose of the law of torts is to
law of torts is to provide a substitute for violent retaliation against
Though the absolute liability principle is seen as a big leap in the development of the law of torts in India, the courts have not been hesitant in giving relief to victims claiming compensation for civil wrongs.
The law of torts assigns liability for harms individuals inflict on others.
Americans and Europeans have different traditions in the law of torts, or delicts.
DOBBS, THE LAW OF TORTS [section] 463 (private nuisance), [section] 467 (public nuisance) (2001); PROSSER & KEETON, THE LAW OF TORTS [section] 87 (private nuisance), [section] 90 (public nuisance) (5th ed.
PROSSER, HANDBOOK OF THE LAW OF TORTS [sections] 32, at 156 (4th ed.
"[T]he traditional account," writes Goldberg, "supposed that, by applying legal rules, principles, and concepts in this manner, judges and jurors were bringing to bear social norms of responsibility that had been refined and elaborated over time through lawyerly analysis." (95) Benjamin Zipursky and Goldberg have argued that it was Holmes who injected a dose of American pragmatism into the common law of torts and thereby turned torts from a common law system of commutative justice into a regulatory scheme:
In [section] 3, which falls in the opening subdivision that states general principles, it is simply provided: "A person is not permitted to profit by his own wrong." Although this kind of response is most closely associated with fiduciary obligations, it is a possibility that has been accepted by the common law of torts for some time, and it seems to have recently attracted new attention in Canada.