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In the common law, a tort is a wrong for which the law provides a remedy. The term comes from Law French and means, literally, 'a wrong'. The "law of torts" is a body of civil law or private law that covers the various legal (money damages and equity remedy) which the law provides for civil wrongs arising from extra-contractual liability, i.e., other than those wrongs which arise from a breach of contractual obligations.

Under United States law, torts are generally divided into two categories: intentional torts and non-intentional torts. Intentional torts include those actions that are intentional and voluntary and that are made with knowledge by the tortfeasor (i.e. the person who committed the tort) upon the plaintiff (the one who brings the complaint seeking relief). Intentional torts include: battery, assault (apprehension of harmful or offensive contact), false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, the real property tort of trespass to land, and the personal property torts of conversion and trespass to chattels.

Amongst unintentional torts one finds negligence as being the most common source of litigation in most American courts. It is a form of extracontractual liability that is based upon a duty of care of a reasonable person, who, being the proximate cause of damages, and but for the tortfeasor's act, is the cause of damages to the plaintiff. Other non-intentional torts include negligent infliction of emotional harm.

There is some overlap between tort law and criminal law -- some acts may at once constitute both a tort and a crime -- and many crimes may be viewed as particularly egregious torts. A cause of action in tort can also be distinguished from a criminal prosecution which may arise from the alleged violation of a criminal statute. The former is typically prosecuted by a private citizen, whereas the latter is prosecuted by the state, and one or both may be brought forth independently. Moreover, remedies for torts can take the form of compensation for damages or injunctive relief. A criminal prosecution usually results in the imposition of a sentence, such as a fine and/or incarceration.


Abuse of process, Defamation, Good faith, Legal immunity, Loss of consortium, Interference with contractual relations, Malicious prosecution, Malpractice, Negligence, Negligence per se, Passing off, Product liability, Proximate cause, Remedies, Res ipsa loquitur, Slander and libel, Trespass

Well-known tort cases: Stella Liebeck v. McDonald's Corporation, Donoghue v. Stevenson, Gutnick v. Dow Jones