The legal concept of the “tort” first developed during the Roman era. The essence of the tort principle can be explained this way: when a party who owes a duty of care harms another person, then the person who was harmed can seek compensation from the party who inflicted the harm.
The tort really emerged as a fundamental principle of civil law in medieval England, and eventually it was fully expressed in Blackstone’s “Commentaries on the Laws of England”. Since then, the concept has been further developed and clarified through decades of case law, statutory law, and commentaries by legal scholars. In medieval England, the remedy for a tort could be paid in money or in kind. Nowadays, the remedy almost always comes in the form of monetary compensation.
As any personal injury attorney will tell you, one of the most common questions clients ask is “What’s my case worth?” The easy answer is to that question is always “it depends”. In other words, the compensation owed to an injured person is specific to that person’s economic and noneconomic losses.
A person who has suffered serious injuries as the result of negligence or an intentional act may be entitled to:
Medical costs – This can include the costs of emergency treatment, surgery, recuperative care, future medical care, transportation to and from medical providers, and more.
Rehabilitation costs – This can include the cost of physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychological counseling, and other types of rehabilitative services.
Lost income – When a tort causes loss of income, an injured person may be entitled to lost past wages and compensation for lost future wages.
Pain and suffering – This can include compensation for physical discomfort, emotional distress, and other types of noneconomic losses.
Punitive damages – In some egregious cases involving recklessness, malice or deceit, a party who commits a tort may be assessed punitive damages. However, this is rare.
When preparing a case, a skilled Personal Injury lawyer will thoroughly examine the facts to determine the full extent of the losses suffered, and seek to maximize the compensation the client receives.