What is a TORT???
So, what are torts? We hear a lot about torts. For example, a common part of today’s legal world involves issues of Tort Reform. No, that doesn’t refer to a revamping of your zoo’s tortoise exhibit. Incidentally, it could involve your zoo’s tortoise exhibit, if you injured yourself due to the wrongdoing of another at your zoo’s tortoise exhibit. But now we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Quite simply, a “tort” is a harmful act – a wrongdoing – performed by either an individual or a company.
Florida law has, through statute and precedent, established three basic areas of torts. These are intentional torts, negligent torts, and strict liability torts. The description of intentional torts is fairly self-evident. If someone (the plaintiff) sues on the grounds of an intentional tort, they claim that the defendant, the “tortfeasor,” as they are referred to, intended for the consequences of the wrongdoing which was committed, resulting in harm of the plaintiff. That is to say, the tort was executed intentionally, with the goal being a direct or indirect harming of the plaintiff.
The second area of torts is negligent torts. This area is one very common to the practice of personal injury law. To prove negligence on the part of the tortfeasor, four requirements must be met on the part of the plaintiff (or his/her legal team). To illustrate those requirements, let’s use the tortoise exhibit example. Say you were enjoying a day at the zoo, and while looking at the tortoise exhibit, you slipped on a wet floor which was not marked by a “Wet Floor” sign. As a result, you injured your hip and have to go to the doctor multiple times to assist with your recovery. You have a case against the zoo for your injury. In order to successfully receive compensation for your injury, you have to prove that 1) the zoo had a requirement to ensure the safety of those visiting the zoo, 2) the zoo failed to do so by neglecting to place a “Wet Floor” sign on the ground (or cleaning up the mess), 3) your injuries and damages were directly caused by the slip and fall at the exhibit, and 4) you must have an injury and damages.
The third area of tort law is that of strict liability. Florida is commonly referred to in legal circles as a “strict liability state.” Strict liability law often applies to product liability suits. Let’s say you went to a department store and bought a step-stool for your garage. Standing on the step-stool the following day, the stool breaks, and you fall and break your ankle. You may sue the product manufacturer for the injuries that you suffered as a result of the fall. Similar to that or negligent tort law, you must prove the following: 1) that the manufacturer had a responsibility to make the step-stool safe for the consumer, 2) that the manufacturer failed to do so, 3) that said failure was the cause of the fall which injured your ankle, and 4) you legitimately injured your ankle. The crucial distinction between this and negligent tort law is that because fault or negligence is not an issue in strict liability law. This means that you can sue on the grounds of strict liability, which means that the tortfeasor may be required to compensate you regardless of negligence.
If you have been injured due to the actions of another, whether at the zoo or not, please call the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.