As stated elsewhere, civil litigation involves someone suing someone else for anything. It is the legal process that most people think of when the word “lawsuit” is used. In broad strokes, the majority of civil claims can be broken down into two categories: contract, and tort.
Contract claims flow from the allegation that one party to a contract breached it, and as a result, the claimant, or plaintiff, suffered damages. Think: bad roofer; no show snow plow guy, product supplier who did not deliver; your car is a lemon; your new fridge never worked; your personal trainer or kid’s piano teacher was useless. On a larger scale, you discover defects in your house after purchase, or sadly, you default on your mortgage and the bank initiates power of sale proceedings on your house. You get fired. These are all examples of breach of contract claims.
By contrast, tort claims comprise what are known as “civil wrongs”. These include claims of negligence, and in more extreme cases, if proven: intentional civil wrongs. All torts require proof of fault in order to determine legal responsibility, however, fault is measured differently for the different types of tort, depending on whether they were intentional, or unintentional. All torts usually involve injury of some sort and the most common examples are personal injury claims, medical malpractice, unsafe premises, unsafe products, assault, battery, defamation of character (libel/slander), nuisance, trespass, intentional infliction of mental distress, and intentional interference with business relations.
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