Difference Between a Tort and a Personal Injury Lawsuit

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Difference Between a Tort and a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The aftermath of a serious injury accident can be confusing and stressful. Many people ― particularly those who’ve never been severely injured before ― are unaware of their options for compensation in Michigan.

Any search about taking legal action after an injury will turn up terms like “torts” and “personal injury lawsuits.” So, what’s the difference between the two?

At Christensen Law, our job is to help you understand your legal rights. Our skilled attorneys have decades of experience standing up for injury victims, and it all starts with explaining the law and how it applies to your case. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

Torts vs. Personal Injuries

After an accident or an injury, many people get confused by the difference between personal injury lawsuits vs. torts. That’s because the two terms are closely related. But what do they mean?

Think of it this way: Torts are wrongful acts that violate someone’s legal rights and can be handled in civil court. A tort could include a physical injury to another person or an infringement on other rights, such as trespassing on someone else’s property. It’s important to understand that tort is a broad term covering many different activities.

While the term tort is broad, “personal injury” has a narrower definition. While personal injuries are a type of tort, they usually only cover situations where someone physically or emotionally hurt you, either intentionally or negligently. For example, if you are injured in a car accident, you would likely bring a personal injury lawsuit, while if someone trespassed on your property, you might bring a trespass to land tort.

If you have questions about what type of action you need to bring, a personal injury lawyer could help. They could answer your questions, let you know your options, and help you file a personal injury lawsuit if that’s the right option for you.

Types of Torts

There are many different types of torts. They usually fall into the following categories:

  • Negligence: A negligent tort involves someone failing to take an action they should to protect you. For example, a business owner or manager is responsible for ensuring their property is safe for visitors. If a guest is injured due to a hazardous condition that the owner should have reasonably been aware of and addressed, the victim might be eligible to bring a negligence tort for their injuries.
  • Strict liability: These torts arise when a person is liable for an injury even if they didn’t intend for someone to be injured. It’s simply enough that someone was injured. Suppose a faulty piece of heavy equipment crushes a construction worker’s leg. In that case, the party(s) who designed or manufactured the product might be liable for harm it causes.
  • Intentional torts: As the name implies, intentional torts are actions where a party “willfully and wantonly” wants to harm another.

What is a Mass Tort?

A mass tort is a special type of tort that can cover many people. Lawyers and courts may use these when one action (or failure to act) hurts numerous people. Common examples of mass torts include defective drugs or defective medical equipment. In those cases, although everyone may suffer different injuries, they were all harmed by the same dangerous product or act.

Mass torts are an important tool that allow many people to seek justice and compensation for their injuries from the same liable entity. The mass tort process is also easier on the court system. Combining all of the torts into a single action can help streamline the process for everyone involved and come to a speedier resolution.

Statute of Limitations for Tort Claim

If you need to bring a tort claim, you must make sure that you take legal action within specific deadlines set by state law. These time limits are called the statutes of limitations.

In Michigan, you generally have three years from the date of an injury to file most tort claims. Some are less than three years. If you don’t file your action within this time frame, you may lose your right to compensation. Keep in mind there are exceptions to the statute of limitations, so it’s critical to know what rule applies to your case. Talking to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident is the best way to protect your right to bring a tort claim or personal injury lawsuit for the compensation you deserve.

Talk to a Personal injury Lawyer Today

For decades, Michigan accident victims have trusted the accomplished attorneys at Christensen Law to file strong and persuasive claims on their behalf. Our personal injury lawyers have a history of obtaining record-setting verdicts and settlements for our clients. They are recognized leaders in the law, with awards including an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell and accolades from Best Lawyers.

With four offices throughout Michigan, our lawyers are ready to talk anytime and anywhere. Call or contact us for a free consultation.