A tort lawsuit is a legal proceeding in which a person sues another party for injuring him. For example, a person may file a tort lawsuit after someone breaks his nose in a fight or hits him with his car. Additionally, tort lawsuits are often filed because of medical malpractice or some other type of negligence. In most jurisdictions, tort lawsuits are filed when a person wants compensation for his injury rather than, or in addition to, criminal prosecution. The laws of many jurisdictions allow a person to be compensated for pain that he has suffered as well as lost wages and medical expenses; some allow a person to sue for emotional suffering as well.
In most cases, a tort lawsuit is filed by the person who suffered an injury or his legal representative; a person often chooses to retain a lawyer to represent him in a tort lawsuit. In some cases, however, the family members of a person who has been injured may sue on his behalf. For instance, a parent may sue on behalf of a minor child or a spouse may sue on behalf of a spouse who can no longer speak for himself. Sometimes people even sue on behalf of loved ones who have died because of another person’s actions or lack of action.
Many people think of tort lawsuits only in terms of the money that may be awarded. These lawsuits may serve another important purpose, however. They may help to discourage certain types of actions and encourage people to be careful in the things they do. For example, a person may drive more carefully if he knows he can be sued for hitting another driver. Likewise, a person may be more likely to refrain from starting a fight if he knows he can be sued for breaking another person’s nose.
The laws regarding tort lawsuits and the compensation amounts a person can sue for may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; the grounds for beginning a lawsuit may vary as well. In many jurisdictions, a person can represent himself in a tort lawsuit, but that isn’t always the best option. Tort law can be complex, and proving one's case may be difficult. For this reason, many people turn to lawyers to help them put together a case or mount a defense against one. Choosing a lawyer who has significant tort experience in the jurisdiction is typically beneficial.