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What Is A Tort?

 Posted on February 06, 2014 in Articles

Many Illinois residents have heard the use of the term tort and likely know that it is a legal term. However, there can be confusion about exactly what a tort is. Simply put, a tort is an injury that any individual sustains that was caused by another party's actions or inaction.

Some tort situations can be minor and not really warrant any follow up. Other torts, however, can result in serious consequences to victims. Permanent injury or disability, loss of limbs and even wrongful death can all be outcomes of a tort.

Some key types of torts that may warrant legal action can include:

  • Slip-and-fall accidents
  • Medical errors or negligence
  • Defective consumer product
  • Defamation
  • Assault and battery
  • Construction site injuries

The Trial Lawyers Association of America reports that 13 percent of all awards for punitive damages are given in product liability suits and 10 percent in medical malpractice cases. The cases most frequently awarded damages are those involving motor vehicle accidents.

A Look At Personal Injury Trial Results

The TLAA breaks down personal injury cases that go all of the way to trial, whether jury or non-jury trial and finds that roughly two percent actually end up being decided via a trial.

Of those cases, findings are for the plaintiffs in 48 percent of instances with 84 percent of plaintiffs awarded financial compensation or settlements. Non-jury trials represent slightly over half of all such trials with 54 percent while the remaining are heard by juries.

This data does also suggest, however, that the great majority of personal injury suits are ultimately settled outside of the courtroom.

Be Aware Of Statutes Of Limitations

If you believe you have been the victim of a personal injury accident and may be due some compensation or recourse, you will want to pay close attention to the laws that stipulate how much time you have to begin such a process. These are called statues of limitations and they vary based upon the nature of a case.

For example, the standard statute of limitations for actions against a physician or hospital is two years "after the date on which the claimant knew, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have known, or received notice in writing of the existence of the injury or death for which damages are sought in the action." The statute also notes that a plaintiff cannot bring an action four years after the act or omission took place.

There are, however, exceptions to this for unique situations. The dates can differ for actions involving minors or for those acts that resulted in a wrongful death.

Always Obtain Legal Help

Before you determine the validity of a claim, it is important that you research and find a qualified attorney to work in your favor. Knowing that you have proper experience on your side can make a big difference in the process and outcome of your case.

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