chapter  10
19 Pages


A tort is a private, or civil, wrong in which the defendant’s actions cause injury to a person or to property. Tort law provides redress for wrongs between individuals, while criminal law seeks to punish offenses against the public at large. A tort lawsuit involves only the persons involved in the tort; the state is neutral in regard to the outcome (unless, of course, the state is a party to the lawsuit). There are elementary dissimilarities between torts and crimes: (1) in the civil action of tort the injured person himself or herself initiates and maintains the lawsuit, whereas in criminal trials the State prosecutes, and (2) the goal of each differs. Criminal law seeks to prevent wrongdoing and to punish the miscreant (by incarceration and/or ne), while tort law aims to place the victim in the same position he or she would have been in if the tort had not occurred (by assessment of monetary damages).