Tort

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A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a wrong that involves a breach of a civil duty owed to someone else. It is differentiated from criminal wrongdoing, which involves a breach of a duty owed to society. Though many acts are both torts and crimes, only the state may prosecute a crime, whereas any party who has been injured may bring a lawsuit for tort. One who commits a tortious act is called a tortfeasor. The equivalent of tort in civil law jurisdictions is delict.

A person who suffers a tortious injury is entitled to receive "damages", usually monetary compensation, from the person or people responsible--or liable--for those injuries. Tort law defines what is a legal injury and, therefore, whether a person may be held liable for an injury they have caused. Legal injuries are not limited to physical injuries but may also include emotional, economic, or reputational injuries as well as violations of privacy, property, or constitutional rights. Tort cases therefore comprise such varied topics as auto accidents, false imprisonment, defamation, product liability (for defective consumer products), copyright infringement, and environmental pollution (toxic torts), among many others.

In much of the common law world, the most prominent tort liability is negligence. If the injured party can prove that the person believed to have caused the injury acted negligently (or without taking reasonable care to avoid injuring others), tort law will allow compensation. However, tort law also recognizes intentional torts, where a person has intentionally acted in a way that harms another, and "strict liability," which allows recovery under certain circumstances without negligence.

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