Torts and Delicts

Torts and Delicts

Delict is the term used for civil obligation for a wrong committed by one party against another. In modern usage, a tort is the equivalent of delict in English and American laws. A tort is a civil wrong committed by one person against another in which the injured party can sue for damages.

The law of torts encompasses a system of liability rules that dictate when and what a person will compensate another as a result of damages caused. By doing so, the law acts as a regulator of social conduct by establishing how people should behave and the liability of acting otherwise.

There are three general types of torts, namely: negligence torts, intentional torts, and strict liability torts.

  1. Negligence torts. Occurs when a negligent act by one party causes harm to the other party. Negligence arises when one party fails to exercise the kind of care that a sensible person would take in a similar situation. In a case of negligence, the plaintiff must prove that a negligent act existed and that it is indeed the negligent act that led to the injury. For instance, an accident that results from passing a red light is a case of negligence.
  2. Intentional torts. These are deliberate acts by the defendant with the intent of causing harm. Examples of intentional torts include robbery, assault, battery, fraud, trespassing, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, among others. However, not all actions that cause injury are intentional torts. The court reviews the conduct of the defendant closely and carefully to determine if indeed the act was deliberate.
  • Strict liability torts. It is the imposition of liability without necessarily finding the fault by the defendant. The only thing that matters is to prove that the actions of the defendant caused the injury suffered by the plaintiff. A good example of a strict liability tort relates to defective products. The consumer only needs to prove that the injury was caused by the product.

Remedies in the Law of Torts

Since torts are civil wrongs involving private parties, the remedies do not constitute punishments through fine or incarceration, but rather solutions that often involve restoring or relieving the plaintiff. There are three remedies available under the law of tort: legal, restitution, and equitable remedies. Legal remedies involve financial compensation to the plaintiff. Restitutionary remedies involve the restoration of property or goods back to the plaintiff, while equitable remedies may include injunction by the court stopping or ordering the defendant to do something.