Basic Classifications of Torts:

     This page is continued from Civil Law Self-Help >>>> Section 1; Torts, Breach of Contract, and Assessing Liability >>>> Torts >>>> Basic Classifications of Torts:


mass tort – a civil wrong that injures many people.

intentional tort – committed by someone acting with general or specific intent (i.e. battery, false imprisonment, trespass to land).

  • prima facie tort – an unjustified, intentional infliction of harm on another, resulting in damages, by an act(s) that would otherwise be lawful.

negligent tort – committed by failure to observe the standard of care required by law under the circumstances.  — aka act of negligence.

  • negligence – failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in a similar situation.
    • reasonable man test – a hypothetical person used as a legal standard, especially to determine if someone acted with negligence.

public tort – a minor breach of the law (i.e. a parking violation) that, although it carries a criminal punishment, is considered a civil offense rather than a criminal one because it is merely a prohibited act and not inherently reprehensible conduct.

quasi-tort – when one who did not directly commit is liable, such as when an employer is held liable for a tort committed by an employee.

  • vicarious liability – liability that a supervisory party (i.e. an employer or principal) bears for the actionable conduct of a subordinate or associate (i.e. an employee or agent).
  • respondeat superior – the doctrine wherein liability is imposed on an employer for the acts of its employees committed in the course and scope of their employment, or on a principal for acts of their agent(s).

maritime tort – any tort within admiralty jurisdiction.


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