The same reason why you would likely not go to a gynaecologist to handle a plastic surgery even though they are both doctors, is probably the same reason you should and would not hire just any attorney to help you with your claim for tortious liability or worse still, handle it yourself.
The most important scenario is about getting the right lawyer to protect you and get you what you deserve.
Understanding ‘Tort’ and Tortious Liability
A tort can simply be referred to as a wrong caused by a party as a result of its actions, words or omissions which has resulted in a significant injury or damage to another party. A tort is a civil wrong as opposed to crime. For example, Mr. A saw Mr. B hugging his fiancé. He is so angry that he walks right up to Mr. B and slaps him hard. Mr. A has just committed a tort of ‘battery’ against Mr. B.
Tortious liability then refers to the consequence to be borne by the party that has inflicted such damage or injury to another. Tortious liability arises as a result of direct actions or breach of duty owed (negligence), or as a result of violation of strict liability statutes or rules. Tortious liability may also arise by vicarious liability, that is, the employer bearing the consequences resulting from the acts or omissions of its employee while the employee was in the course of the job activities.
The main purpose of torts law and claims is to compensate or indemnify the party who has suffered any amount of injury from the actions, words or omissions of another party. Thus, torts law has majorly evolved from court decisions on claims filed by parties rather than written or codified laws.
Examples of cases of Tort include: Slip and fall injuries, Assault and battery, Products liability, Premises liability, Product liability, Medical Negligence and many more.
What Exactly Do Tort Lawyers Handle?
Torts is a very wide aspect of law. Thus, torts attorneys often handle a wide variety of tortious liability claims and these claims are often centred around personal injury. ‘Personal injury’ claim is the umbrella theme for claims resulting from medical malpractice, product liability, driving negligence, construction injury, defamation and so on.
What can I Claim as Remedy for Tortious Liability?
Remedies for tortious liability often depends on the circumstances surrounding the claim and previous court decisions or principles on that aspect of claim. However, common remedies include:
- Reimbursement for losses caused by the defendant
- Punitive damages (financial compensation) for injury suffered
- Monetary award for medical or correctional expenses
- Payment of wages lost as a result of injury
- Injunction to restrain the defendant from continuing acts complained of or from further causing injury
Possible Defenses to Your Claim
Consent: This means that a claim for tortious liability cannot be sustained if the injured party agreed to the inflicting party’s conduct.
Self Defense: If another party is injured as a result of the self defense acts of the defendant to prevent himself from being injured, then the injured party will not be entitled to any compensation.
There are several more defenses (such as waiver of right and undue delay) to a claim for tortious liability and you may have to speak to a torts lawyer to assess your claim and possible defenses.
REASONS TO HIRE A TORTS LAWYER
- Avoiding Pitfalls – Special Skill, Knowledge and Training
Attorneys are trained professionals in knowledge, skills and experience. This makes it easy for them to be able to navigate easily to establish and represent others in their claims. Thus, unless you are a trained personal injury attorney, there is less likelihood of you being able to avoid shortcomings of your case, put yourself at a legal disadvantage and unnecessarily risk losing your once promising claim forever. By training and experience in the aspect of your claim, the attorney is able to avoid pitfalls, overcome legal hurdles and professionally pursue your claim.
- Keeps Additional Worries Away
Hiring a torts lawyer will relieve you of the stress of running through several legal protocols yourself. The stress of meeting strict deadlines, filing claims, going through the rigorous legal processes and innumerable meetings will be taken care of by the attorney. Hence, you can take heed to your health, injury or focus on your job or other life’s pressing needs, and certainly avoid further trauma arising as a result of the arduous requirements and few or major disappointments. But an attorney can easily manage your affairs, give you little or no worries, release tension and cope with the disappointments on your behalf.
- Professional Negotiation
Sometimes, you may not have to file a lawsuit as the defaulting party may be willing to settle out of court by giving you a compensation. Again, this goes down to knowledge, skill and professionalism of a torts lawyer. A torts lawyer knows how much your claim is worth. For instance, medical malpractice or negligence suits are usually far more paying than products liability, save for some exceptional cases.
Negotiation with the insurance company or defaulting party would involve skills, strategy and tactics, most of which you may not possess if you or an unskilled relative sat at the table. What’s more, you could become emotional and that is just the point they get you in a bind. Don’t forget that the other party is most likely going to hire a ruthless attorney to deal with your claim. To avoid settling for too little or breakdown of negotiations, an appropriate torts attorney will be able to assess your claim and whether you are at a vantage point at the negotiation table or in a trial court.
- Motivation to Help and Fight
Most often than not, a torts lawyer that is willing to take your case would naturally believe that your claim is worth fighting for. Hence, there is the natural motivation to pursue the case to a logical conclusion and in your favor. This is also because the case ending in your favor means it is also ending in his favor both financially (contingency legal fees agreement) and for his professional career or track record. He would be willing to go all lengths and fight for you to ensure the claim is successful.
- Competent Representation in Court
When push comes to shove, and the case is set down for trial, you might just not be able to keep up the pace or profess a convincing argument before the jury. A torts lawyer can ably represent you in court, file necessary motions and is familiar with the procedural rules of court especially when it comes down to arguments and cross examination of witnesses. A torts lawyer can help to develop your case, ensure your rights are protected and that you come out with the best possible result. This makes it necessary to hire a torts lawyer that is specialised in that area (especially medical related cases) and has a proven track record. For example hiring a medical malpractice lawyer to help represent you in a medical intervention gone wrong.
So, if you or any relative, colleague or friend you know has suffered some kind of ‘tort’, my final piece of advice would be to hire the best torts lawyer or best personal injury attorney around, with a proven track record to help you get the claim you deserve. The other party is counting on your mistakes, ignorance and delay. Don’t let them double your pain with no fair compensation.