Elements of Torts

Failure to take care of one’s action that causes harm to others and failure to take action (that can be taken to protect someone), or not doing anything and it causes potential harm or injury to another person can also be considered a tort. The tortfeasor is the individual who is guilty of the tort. It is crucial for the injured party in tort lawsuits to demonstrate that the harm or injury they suffered directly relates to the cause of action. The law of torts is not codified, i.e., it is not derived from legislation, unlike most other fields of law. Because of this, tort law is frequently referred to as "judge-made law."

What does Tort Define?

The Latin word "tortum," which literally translates as "to twist," is where the word "tort" derives from and connotes twisted or improper behavior. According to Salmond, a civil action for damages is the appropriate remedy for civil harm unrelated to a contract. In essence, the law of torts is a continuation of the Latin adage, "Wherever there is a wrong, there is also a cure," or "Wherever there is a wrong, there is also a remedy."

The first type of tort is when someone knowingly does something—or doesn't do something—while fully aware that doing so will harm or injure someone else. Trespass, libel, violence, and many other offenses are examples of deliberate torts. One is said to have engaged in a negligent tort when they cause another person to experience harm or injury as a result of their own negligence. Accidents brought on by violating traffic laws are an example of this form of tort.

It is important to understand the meaning of the word "negligence" in this context, which is when the prudent person's expected standard of care is not met. No matter whether a person has the intention to cause harm or not, they are nonetheless considered accountable in strict liability torts. The landmark Rylands v. Fletcher case played a significant role in establishing the legislation governing the strict liability tort.

Elements of Tort

There are four necessary elements of tort, as has already been stated, for a tort to exist. Let's take a closer look at each of them.

Existence of a Duty to Exercise Care

Every person is required by law to follow and maintain a reasonable level of care whenever they engage in any activity that could potentially damage someone else. It must be established that the tortfeasor owed a duty of care to the injured party and that this duty was subsequently broken in order to file a lawsuit. Rather than requiring a direct relationship between the injured party and the tortfeasor, the duty of care is imposed by operation of law.

Wrongful Commission or Omission of an Act

The law must define a commission or omission as wrongful in order for it to be recognized as such. It is appropriate to classify an act that violates the law as unlawful. It is not essentially necessary for a moral wrong to be a legal wrong; therefore, merely being immoral is not enough to qualify as a wrongdoing. Regardless of whether the action is morally right or wrong, it is only considered an unlawful act when it is against the law. A wrongdoing must also actually injure another person or cause them legal harm. The following section deals with this requirement.

Actual Harm or Legal Harm

The claimant must have really experienced pain or loss as a result of the tortfeasor's wrongdoing, or even a violation of their legal rights (with or without resulting damage), for the wrongdoing to form a claim for tort and give rise to any liability. The two maxims, injuria sine damno and damnum sine injuria, sum up the several categories of harm and/or injury that are covered by this essential component of a tort.


As previously stated, there is a solution for every problem. It would be quite meaningless to grant rights without also providing a means of redress in the event that those rights were violated. In a similar vein, the law of torts also establishes specific legal remedies for wronged parties, such as monetary compensation, specific property restitution, and judicially granted injunctions. The Court evaluates specific features of the liability by running tests like the test of directness, the test of foreseeability, and others in order to determine the remoteness of the damage sustained before providing any relief to the claimant.


Tort that defines a civil wrong, has four fundamental elements or components. The four components of a tort are obligation, unlawful act, injury, and remedy. So, to claim damages against the tort that one faced, these four elements need to be proved. Interestingly, if even one of these elements is missing from the chain, a tort cannot be proved and damages cannot be given.


Q1. What are the differences between tort and breach of contract?


  • In torts, a person transgresses the laws that are principally established by the law, but in a breach of contract, one party transgresses the terms that are agreed upon by both parties.

  • A tort is when one of these rights is violated, where there is no relation between plaintiff and defendant; on the other hand, in a breach of contract, there is contractual relationship between plaintiff and defendant.

  • In a lawsuit involving a tort, liquidated damages are sought, whereas in a lawsuit involving a breach of contract, damages are sought to be determined.

Q2. What are the major goals of tort law?

Ans. By requiring that those who cause harm make things right by compensating those harmed, it helps to maintain order by discouraging retaliation by injured parties and their friends. It also satisfies our common sense of right and wrong by requiring those who cause harm to make things right by compensating those who have been harmed.

Updated on: 20-Feb-2023

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