Tort Laws and Criminal Law

Tort laws are civil laws involving harm inflicted on an individual or their property. Plaintiffs bring forth civil suits if they suffered physical or psychological distress caused by the person/persons allegedly responsible. If a plaintiff files a civil lawsuit and wins, they receive compensation for their damages.

Three kinds of personal injury torts exist: intentional, strict liability and negligent torts. An intentional tort refers to a person performing an action they knew would cause harm. Strict liability torts involve parties held responsible for the consequences of their actions without a plaintiff needing to prove fault or negligence. An example of a strict liability tort is someone using explosives, manufacturing and selling defective products or harboring dangerous animals. Someone accused of a negligent tort indicates that the defendant did not understand or realize their actions would cause harm.

The Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas (LRS) provides a unique lawyer referral service for residents of Austin and central Texas communities. If you have an immediate need for an attorney specializing in tort law and criminal law, call (512) 472-8303 or (866) 303-8303 today.

Types of Civil Case Compensation Awards

Medical Bills

Medical expenses accumulated by plaintiffs in personal injury cases, including psychological counseling, medications and supportive care, are compensable under tort law. You may also include the estimated costs of any future medical care in the compensation package.

Income/Lost Wages

Defendants who lose a tort lawsuit may be mandated to reimburse the plaintiff’s current lost wages and potential future wages. The legal term for compensation involving income is “loss of earning capacity”. Ask your attorney for further clarification on this.

Property Loss

Personal items damaged due to any indirect actions are also compensable. These items generally include vehicles, digital devices, damage to residential property, heirlooms and other valuable items.

Emotional Distress

Lawyers handling a civil case or criminal case may also prove a client’s emotional distress demands compensation. Types of emotional distress compensable under tort law include anxiety, depression, severe insomnia and phobias.

Punitive Damages

Judges award punitive damages in civil lawsuits as a way of further punishing the defendant. Thus, they’ll think twice about repeating the same harmful action.

Criminal Law vs Tort Law

When someone is legally held responsible for a crime, this means they have done or said something that detrimentally affects society by disrupting the order and peace of society. The Bill of Rights states that U.S citizens are entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. This statement directly supports the fundamentals of criminal law. While criminal law addresses wrongful behavior that harms society, tort law is concerned with a person’s actions that affect individuals on a personal level.

Burden of Proof in a Civil Case and a Criminal Case

Plaintiffs win civil lawsuits using the lowest legal standard available–a preponderance of the evidence. This means a civil case lawyer needs to prove there is at least a 50 percent chance the defendant did do what they have been accused of doing.

In contrast, a criminal law attorney prosecuting a case must prove the defendant did a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, one needs substantial evidence (fingerprints, DNA samples, documentation) to successfully prosecute and win a criminal case.

Austin LRS is the leading attorney referral service residents of central Texas turn to when they need a criminal law or tort law attorney. Find the best lawyer to represent you in a legal proceeding today.


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