Types of Tort Law

A "tort" is a civil wrong that someone suffers from and which results in legal action. It may be possible for the victim of an injury to file a lawsuit in order to receive damages as recompense for what he or she suffered. This frequently occurs in personal injury cases where the plaintiff sues the defendant and try to recover the costs of their losses, injuries, and other damages.

What is Tort law?

The majority of civil lawsuits fall under the purview of tort law. With the exception of contractual conflicts, most claims that come before a civil court fall under the jurisdiction of tort law. The goal of tort law is to amend for wrong done to people and to protect them from the wrongdoings of others. Typically, this is done by compensating the victim with justified money damages.

Salient Features of Tort Law

Major features of tort law are −

  • To torment someone with the goal to cause them harm is known as purposeful torture.

  • A negligent tort occurs when someone failed to perform his or her responsibility and causing harm to other person. For example, while taking his car back, he hit a person standing behind.

  • The defendant is accountable regardless of whether there was an intention or a duty breach because the topic is so crucial. Product responsibility is commonly covered under strict liability policies. For instance, the producer or reseller may be liable if a faulty product causes harm.

Types of Tort Law

There are three types of wrongful act −

  • Intentional Tort

  • Negligence

  • Strict Liability

Intentional Tort

When someone intentionally causes harm to another person and does so on purpose, this is referred to as an intentional tort. According to most intentional tort cases and civil law doctrine, they must have intended to do the unlawful act in order for an intentional tort claim to be legitimate, even though they need not have intended to cause the eventual consequence. Following are the major types of intentional Tort Law −

  • Assault − When someone threats other person with some action of hitting, such as, Suresh lift his hand to beat Sohan or lift a stone or stick and took action to hit Sohan, but actually did not hit, is characterized as assault. Assault is just an immediate threat to harm someone, but actually does not touch the body.

  • Battery − Battery, as opposed to assault, is when the threat of violence is actually used by coming into contact with the victim. It's possible that the exchange was rude or nasty. The crime of battery is punishable under both civil and criminal laws. Intent, contact, and harm—either bodily or emotional in nature—are the three conditions for civil battery.

  • False Imprisonment − When someone prevents the freedom of movement of another person without any legal justification, it is characterized as false imprisonment. In order to have a claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate inappropriate and wrongful detention without consent. For example, if someone kidnaps or makes hostages other person without his or her knowledge and permission. Secondly, if a police arrests someone and does not give any proper and legal justification, also considered as false imprisonment.

  • Trespass to Land − Trespassing on land is the intentional intrusion of someone onto another person's property. Anyone who crosses a yard to get into other’s home, orchid or any such place without owner’s permission or consented knowledge, will be considered as a trespasser. However, if plaintiff takes in legal action, then he or she needs to demonstrate that the intrusion occurred without their consent. Postal workers and police officers are exempted because they are already legally permitted to be on the property (but with judicial permission). When trespass cases proceed to trial, property damage is a major factor. A plaintiff may be given an injunction if there is no damage and all they seek is to stop trespassing.

  • Trespass to Chattels − An unlawful, intentional interference with the custody of someone's personal property is referred to as trespass to chattels and conversion, both of which are intentional torts. Only personal property is covered by trespass to chattels and conversion.

  • Conversion − Conversion occurs when someone want to recoup the value of something that they did not consent to having taken and cannot be restored. If the item is given, used improperly, broken, changed, or not returned, it might be deemed transformed. You should be aware that conversion can even apply to gas from a lawnmower that a neighbour has stolen. The physical, tangible property covered by this provision includes things like vehicles, bicycles, and technological instruments.

  • Unlawful Harassment − Any behaviour that is forbidden by law and is aimed at another person or group of persons and is found to be objectionable by the target is considered unlawful harassment. Typically, it includes any offensive behaviour that degrades, terrorises, or threatens another person. Most of the time, the harasser is aware—or ought to have known—that their actions would likely lead to confrontation.

  • Invasion of Privacy − If someone has a justifiable expectation of privacy, such in a restroom or locker room and an intrusion has taken place, such act defines the invasion of privacy.


Tort law defines negligence as the failure of an alleged person to exercise reasonable care when performing a legal duty that results in another party suffering discomfort, harm, or loss. In this case, negligence caused harm, and hence, the responsible party is held accountable.

There are two essentials of this tort −

  • Duty of Care − It indicates that each individual has a responsibility to act with care while dealing with another person. Although this responsibility arises in all activities, it is of a legal character and cannot be unlawful or criminal, nor can it be of a spiritual, ethical, or religious nature. It also arises in all actions, but in carelessness.

  • Breach of Duty of Care − When the law recognises the link between the defendant and the plaintiff and permits the defendant to act in a particular manner towards the plaintiff, a responsibility has been established. It is necessary to define this duty of care, which is typically decided by the judge, in addition to the defendant owing it to the complainant.

Strict Liability

In a strict liability tort, a person is held accountable for any unforeseen repercussions of their acts. To put it another way, when anything goes wrong, the person who may be unaware of this damage, is held legally accountable because some situations or actions are considered to be inherently risky. For example, if a person runs a factory of some hazardous substance and if any accident has taken place in that factory and subsequently causing harm to the employees and the people living nearby; in this case, the owner of the factory will be held liable and will have to pay the compensation irrespective of the fact that he was not aware of this accident.


The Indian Supreme Court has influenced the evolution of tort law through a number of significant judgments. Further, the concepts of tort law have also been included into more recent statutes including the Environment Protection Act of 1986, the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, the Human Rights Protection Act of 1988, and the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988.

It is nevertheless obvious that the torts branch as a whole is still evolving in India, in contrast to the expansion of torts in countries like the UK and the USA. This does not imply that legitimate tort claims under Indian tort law are not acknowledged or taken into account by the courts. The necessity for tort law to be codified has also been mentioned frequently as a way to promote its wider applicability. So it may be argued that a stronger foundation for a codified or more developed tort law in India can be established by vehemently contesting tort cases, educating people about this area of law where relief can be sought.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Who can sue and who cannot sue in tort?

Ans. Under tort law, anyone may file a lawsuit. However, usually, a plaintiff is the one who files a lawsuit, and a defendant is the one who is being sued. There are several restrictions, though: tort law does not apply against children, felons, insolvent entities, foreign states, or corporations.

Q2. What is the primary function of the law of tort?

Ans. Tort law is mostly used to deal with civil lawsuits. It brings justice to those who have been wronged by others. The wrongdoers or tortfeasors are held financially liable. Additionally, this serves as an example for others, thereby deterring potential transgressions in the future.

Q3. What is negligence in tort law?

Ans. The term "negligence" in tort law refers to the failure of a person to fulfil their legal obligations to another person, which results in the latter’s suffering harm or loss.

Updated on: 07-Apr-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started