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What is a tort claim and how is liability determined?

Whenever an Ontario person suffers injuries that are deemed to have been caused by another person, there will be a question of liability. When it comes to civil justice, liability is a word that will be used in a tort claim and also in a personal injury lawsuit. Liability arises from personal actions and, when it comes to tort laws, the typical concern is whether one person's careless, reckless or negligent actions caused harm to another.

Torts can involve deliberate and intentional harm caused to another person or unintentional actions, which usually imply negligence that does not include willful wrongdoing but unreasonable acts that caused injury. The first of three standards of liability is intention, which requires proof that a defendant meant to cause harm in cases such as assault. The second is negligence that requires evidence of failure in a defendant's duty of care, such as in a medical malpractice claim. Then there is strict liability that needs neither proof of negligence nor intention, but the mere fact that an injury was caused could make the defendant guilty.

Personal injury -- a subcategory of tort law -- may be the area in which liability claims are most prevalent. To determine liability in a personal injury claim, specific questions are asked. Was the plaintiff owed a duty of care by the defendant, and did he or she fail in that duty? Did the defendant's conduct cause harm to the plaintiff that resulted in damages? Only when losses were suffered will there be a viable claim.

If you, a friend or a family member became the victim of someone's negligence and suffered injuries and losses, contact us to speak to one of our lawyers. We will inform you of your rights and explain what steps you should be taking in order to protect your rights for the future. An Ontario lawyer can also evaluate the circumstances of your injury and determine the viability of a tort claim.

Source: FindLaw Canada, "What is liability?", Accessed on Oct. 7, 2017

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