Explain the current position in respect of liability for personal injury in relation to the tort?


Personal injury law, also known as tort law, is considered to defend a person if the person or his property is injured or affected because of someone else’s act or failure to act. Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as contrasting to an injury to property.[1] In an operative tort action, the one who initiated the injury or harm compensates the one who desired the losses. Every tort claim, nevertheless of its basis, whether deliberate, negligence, or strict liability, has two basic issues—liability and damages. Was the offender accountable for the damages the person sustained, and, if so, what is the nature and level of that damages? If the person can prove liability and damages, certain system of justice will award the person compensation for the loss.[2]

A tort is a legal wrong. Tort law is a branch of the civil law; the other main branches are contract and property law. While in criminal law the accuser is always the state and the defendant, if found guilty of a crime, is punished by the state, in civil law the dispute is naturally between private parties (though the government can also sue and be sued).[3] Tort may be demarcated as a personal injury; or as “a civil action other than a breach of contract.”[4]

 What is Personal Injury Law? 

In the lawful sense, personal injury is a type of tort or civil wrong where damage is caused to one individual because of another individual miscarried to use rational care. Personal injury law is overlapped quite a bit with litigation law. The law distinguishes a tort as grounds (legal reasons) to sue the lawbreaker in order to convalesce for losses caused by an injury or other type of harm, including psychological. In a successful tort action, the one who caused the injury or harm reimburses the one who suffered the losses. Every tort privilege, regardless of its origin, whether intentional, negligence, or strict liability, has two basic issues—liability and damages.[5] This is mentioned to as retrieval for indemnities and may contain predictable future losses in addition to definite present losses. Some of the damages one may sue for are judicious medical expenses, property damages, pain and suffering, loss of earnings capacity, emotional distress, loss of association or companionship, and legal costs and attorney fees. The foremost objective of tort law is to make the injured party whole again and to dishearten others from pledging the same offense[6].

With personal injury law, liability is a key factor. Liability is determined by viewing that the individual who triggered the damage did so because of a letdown to exercise rational care. Further, it must be exposed that it was predictable that this disappointment could result in the injury or damage that did happen to the other party. Personal injury law is tremendously complicated and the subject of much argument. There are many critics actively seeking tort improvement in an effort to decrease these types of lawsuits, as well as the amount of damages that may be improved and the contingency fees attorneys may charge. A contingency fee works on the principal that the attorney only gets paid if the case is won and damages are recovered. Personal injury or tort law usually styles one think of lawsuits. However, many of these cases never continue to court. More recurrently an out-of-court clearance is sought to resolve the issue. This is much more convenient than a lengthy, costly civil court trial. However, when a settlement cannot be grasped, the parties usually must continue to a state court, and the decision may then be appealed to the applicable appellate courts.

Personal injury and tort law comprises civil accounts which seek monetary reprieve for harm suffered from a failure to act or breach of duty to act. The victim of the personal injury– who tolerates injury or suffers damage–is known as the plaintiff. The person whose action or inaction caused the damage is known as the defendant or tortfeasor.[7]

 The basis of tort and personal injury

A tort is demarcated as a negligent or intentional civil wrong not arising out of a contract or statute. A tort is an act which grounds injury and individuals who suffer personal injury as a consequence of another party’s tortuous act may sue for damages.

Though tort and personal injury law can be misguided as the same, they are not. Tort law frequently delivers people with the privileges to compensation when another person troubles their legally protected benefits. Personal injury law arises as a result of defilement of tort law, when a person hurts some form of injury, either physical or psychological, as the result of an accident or medical negligence. Torts are characterized in two ways, the first being negligence torts and the second is called intentional torts.


This is principally, the criterion of tort liability and the most common reason of civil lawsuits in the United States. Under this lawful concept, people have the responsibility to perceive proper diligence and sensible care and skill to avoid instigating injury to other people. According to Jay M. Feinman of the Rutgers University School of Law, “The core idea of negligence is that people should exercise reasonable care when they act by taking account of the potential harm that they might foreseeably cause harm to other people.”[8]

Most car accidents are centered on the tort of negligence. Their accountability in negligence arises from careless or insensitive conduct or a failure to act when a sensible person would have acted. Conduct becomes “negligent” when it falls below a legally documented standard of taking practical care under the situations to protect others from injury. Even without the intent to harm, the other party is destined to pay for damages if confirmed guilty of negligence.

 Intentional Torts

These are civil wrongs that were dedicated consciously. As associated to negligence where the act is usually an accident caused by the absence of due care, there is malice or intent to cause injury. Under the law, intentional torts include acts of:

  • ·                     Assault
  • ·                     Battery
  • ·                     Slander and libel
  • ·                     False imprisonment
  • ·                     Intentional infliction of emotional distress

Damages accessible for intentional torts tend to be larger and more substantial than for negligent torts but it is more problematic to prove because it must be proven that the party who instigated the injury replaced with the specific intent or mental state of intentionally performing the act.

Since a tort is a civil wrong devoted against another person – personal injury lawsuits ascending from negligence or intentional torts may be inaugurated to recover compensation and damages.

The prime aim of tort law is to deliver relief for the damages and under the personal injury law; the injured person may sue for an injunction to avert the continuation of the tortuous comportment or for monetary damages.

Among the types of damages the incapacitated party may convalesce are: loss of earnings capacity, pain and suffering, and reasonable medical expenses. They include both present and future predictable losses. Defendants must recognize only that their acts will result in certain consequences.[9] Tort and personal injury law distinguish that every man must be accountable for his action and that any civil wrong, like crime, must pay.

 Personal injury claims

The Personal Injury Center offers access to information and resources on many topics of personal injury law. The explanations of personal injuries and discover whether a personal injury lawsuit is recommended in the case, essentials of a personal injury case and understand how personal injury law protects a person from the injuries and damages inflicted by another individual, whether maliciously or through desertion or recklessness.  A person can find help, whether he was injured on the job, during a vehicle accident, because the negligence of a manufacturer who produced a faulty product, or if an individual suffered personal injury while a crime was dedicated against himself.[10]

 Determining liability in a personal injury case

Determining liability is a foremost aspect in any personal injury case.  It is crucial to the success of any lawsuit and the primary focus of the attorney representing the injured victim.  It is the duty of the legal counsel to establish negligence.  Negligence is a legal term unfolding the activities of a party who did something they shouldn’t have done, or when someone doesn’t do something they were required to do.

Liability changes in each condition.  The process of proving liability includes prudently exploring the situations adjacent the accident.  A amount of personal injury and product liability laws may come into play.  The demand of liability is one of the most significant deliberations in a personal injury case.  Quite often, it is not cut and dried and necessitates noteworthy technical analysis.[11]

 Duty of Care

In any negligence claim, duty of care must be verified first.  The plaintiff must institute that the defendant had a relationship and that the defendant unsettled them a duty of care.  This can best be designated as the affiliation between a doctor and patient, or between a consumer and manufacturer of the product the consumer bought. In business, “the duty of care addresses the attentiveness and prudence of managers in performing their decision-making and supervisory functions.”[12] Additional examples may include a driver and passenger or an attendee at an amusement park and the conforming owner/operator.

Breach of Duty

A breach of duty occurs when the plaintiff inaugurates that the defendant recognized they were putting the plaintiff at risk for injury or damage.  If the defendant failed to take action to rectify the situation, then a breach has transpired.  Secondly, if the defendant did not comprehend they were putting someone else at risk, but a judicious and sensible person or benefactor of goods and services could foreknow risk of injury, this is also a breach of care. An example is shown in the facts of Bolton v. Stone,[13] a 1951 legal case decided by the House of Lords which established that a defendant is not negligent if the damage to the plaintiff was not a judiciously conceivable significance of his conduct. In the case, a Miss Stone was struck on the head by a cricket ball while standing outside her house. Cricket balls were not normally hit a far enough distance to pose a danger to people standing as far away as was Miss Stone. Although she was injured, the court held that she did not have a legitimate claim because the danger was not adequately foreseeable. 


Law is concerned with the application of causal ideas, embodied in the language of statutes and decisions, to precise situations.[14] The burden to establish the cause of the accident or injury remains on the plaintiff.  They must demonstrate by a preponderance of the proof that the defendant was the cause of the plaintiff’s injury.  Simply put, the plaintiff must prove it was more likely than not that the defendant’s activities produced the plaintiff’s injury.  For example, if a tire manufacturer has internal certification which shows through testing, tread departure has happened with their tires, they may predict blowouts which could cause injury or even death to drivers and passengers.  Another example might be that a doctor recommends suppository to a pregnant patient that may cause harm to an unborn fetus.  There have been reports in the news concerning the toy safety and which toys are safe for what age.  If the manufacturer miscarries to properly caution customers that a particular toy is not safe for children under a certain age, and the parent purchases the toy and the child is wounded, the manufacturer can be held accountable.  By not providing a appropriate cautioning label, their negligence caused the injury to the child.

Even adults need to be warned about prevailing dangers before operating certain products such as a snow blower, a generator, power tools, and sporting goods equipment.


After the demand of liability has been replied, the next step is to regulate damages. In law, injury is an award, typically of money, to be waged to a person as reimbursement for loss or injury.[15]  This can best be demarcated as the quantity of money that can compensate for the injuries that were instigated by the negligent conduct.  The type and amount of damages depends on a diversity of factors such as the victim’s injuries, the conditions surrounding the accident and how the case is established. In personal injury claims, damages for compensation are enumerated by reference to the sternness of the injuries continual. In non-personal injury claims, for instance, a prerogative for professional negligence in contradiction of solicitors, the measure of damages will be evaluated by the loss suffered by the client due to the negligent act or blunder by the solicitor giving upsurge to the loss. The loss must be reasonably foreseeable and not too remote.[16]

Monetary losses may include the following:

  • ·                     Medical expenditures
  • ·                     Future medical expenditures
  • ·                     Lost Salaries
  • ·                     Projected loss of income (if plaintiff is unable to work due to their injuries)
  • ·                     Household facilities (cost of hiring someone to maintain or run the household)

Physical and mental pain may include:

  • ·                     Pain and suffering
  • ·                     Permanent incapacity
  • ·                     Defacement
  • ·                     Mental torment (this can also include emotional and psychological distress)
  • ·                     Loss of amusement of life
  • ·                     Loss of conglomerate (benefits lost due to a relationship loss due to accident or injury)

All damages necessitate evidence.  Injuries can be recognized through medical records delineating the treatment you received from a medical proficient.  Employment and school records may demonstrate to be cooperative as well.

Strict Liability Cases

If someone has dedicated an accidental wrong against a person, because of negligence or irresponsibility, there are diverse standards of liability that they may be seized accountable for.  If it can be obviously shown that the offender could have prohibited the harm, but disastrous to do so, they may be held harshly liable for your harm.  For example, in the case of dog bites, you may have a claim against the owner if their dog bites you nevertheless if there was spite or intent involved.

Stringent liability often smears to cases, which include treacherous actions such as excavating, blasting, or demolishing a building.  This typical is often used in product liability cases involving imperfect products.

If the principle of severe liability applies to your case, you may only need to show you were caused injury, and that the defendant was accountable.  For this reason, strict liability is sometimes referred to as absolute liability.

 Personal injury and tort law in USA

USDOJ – Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)

Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) cases are wide-ranging. Those cases handled by section litigators include traditional problems in tort law, such as medical malpractice and other personal injury litigation, as well as formative matters arising in areas as miscellaneous as supervisory agency activities, wild animal attacks in national parks, and professional negligence. The section also handles litigation brought by persons who contracted AIDS purportedly due to government negligence in the course of blood transfusions or other medical dealings. Section attorneys protect the United States from acquaintance to extreme liability, and from second-guessing of governmental policy verdicts through tort litigation.[17]

 USDOJ – Torts Branch

Approximately 130 attorneys are engaged by the Torts Branch Attorneys are alienated among four sections: Aviation and Admiralty; Federal Tort Claims Act; Environmental Torts; and Constitutional and Specialized Torts. The Torts Branch represents the interests of the United States in suits where monetary judgments are required for damages resulting from negligent or wrongful acts. The Branch also handles activities concerning injury or damage to government property.[18]



Related organizations and publications

American Tort Reform Association (ATRA)

ATRA is a national organization completely enthusiastic to restoring our civil justice system. ATRA fights in Congress, in state legislatures, and in the courts to make the system reasonable. It generally classifies and champions elected officials and judges who want to fix the system. In the media, they serve as the national voice of the civil justice reform movement.[19]

Journal of Tort Law

The only peer-reviewed academic journal in the U.S. dedicated to tort law, the Journal of Tort Law1 publishes cutting-edge scholarship in tort concept and jurisprudence from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives: comparative, doctrinal, economic, empirical, historical, philosophical, and policy-oriented.[20]

 Tort and Personal Injury Law Dictionary

This is a specialized sub-listing of Duhaime’s comprehensive Law Dictionary, where different   terms relevant to personal injury and tort law are grouped.[21]


Personal injury law is enormously complicated and the subject of much argument. There are many detractors aggressively looking for tort improvement in an effort to diminution these types of lawsuits, as well as the quantity of injuries that may be recuperated and the exigency fees attorneys may charge. A contingency fee works on the principal that the attorney only gets paid if the case is won and damages are recovered. The contingency fee is based on a percentage of the recovery, rather than an hourly rate.


“Nolo’s Free Dictionary of Law Terms and Legal Definitions”. Nolo.com. 2009-09-18. Retrieved 2010-03-31.

What is Tort Law? Pearson Rowe Solicitors. Retrieved 18 December 2011.

Feinman, Jay (2010). Law 101. New York: Oxford University Press.

Klar, Lewis. Tort Law. Toronto: Thomson Carswell, 2008, p32.

Alan R. Palmiter, Corporations: Examples and Explanations, 5th ed. (New York: Aspen Publishers, 2006), 192.

Calabresi, G., ‘Concerning Cause and the Law of Torts’ University of Chicago Law Review, 43 (1975): 69–108.

International principle: Trans-Lex.org, Garner, p.416

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/injur y.html














[1] “Nolo’s Free Dictionary of Law Terms and Legal Definitions”. Nolo.com. 2009-09-18. Retrieved 2010-03-31.

[2] http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/injury.html

[3] http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/tort-theories/

[4] What is Tort Law?. Pearson Rowe Solicitors. Retrieved 18 December 2011.

[5] http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/injury.html

[6] http://www.hg.org/torts.html

[7] http://lawbrain.com/wiki/Category:Injury_and_Tort_Law

[8]  Feinman, Jay (2010). Law 101. New York: Oxford University Press.

[9] Klar, Lewis. Tort Law. Toronto: Thomson Carswell, 2008, p32.

[10] http://www.lawfirms.com/resources/personal-injury/personal-injury-claims

[11] http://www.lawfirms.com/resources/personal-injury/personal-injury-claims/liability-injury-case.htm

[12] Alan R. Palmiter, Corporations: Examples and Explanations, 5th ed. (New York: Aspen Publishers, 2006), 192.

[13] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolton_v._Stone

[14] Calabresi, G., ‘Concerning Cause and the Law of Torts’ University of Chicago Law Review, 43 (1975): 69–108.

[15]  International principle: Trans-Lex.org, Garner, p.416

[16] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remoteness_in_English_Law

[17] http://www.justice.gov/civil/torts/ftcals/t-ftca.html

[18] http://www.justice.gov/civil/torts/torts_home.html

[19] http://www.atra.org/

[20] http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jtl

[21] http://www.duhaime.org/LegalResources/TortPersonalInjury.aspx