Types of Torts in California

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While the word “tort” does not appear much in everyday language, you will most certainly see this term used when it comes to civil lawsuits. Tort is a legal term used to indicate that someone else has been harmed due to some type of wrongdoing, misconduct, or breach of their rights. However, there are various types of torts in California that you need to know about. Here, our we will briefly review three types of torts that regularly show up in injury cases in this state.

What is a Tort Case?

A tort case is a type of civil lawsuit where one party will file a claim against another party for allegedly causing some type of injury or damages. In a tort case, the injury victim (the plaintiff) will claim that another party (the defendant) caused their injuries and losses. If a tort claim is successful, it will result in the defendant having to pay compensation to the plaintiff for the damages they caused. 


Negligence is the most common basis for a tort claim in California. In these cases, the plaintiff alleges that the fault of the defendant is based on four basic elements of negligence:

  • A duty of care that has been established between the plaintiff and defendant 
  • A breach of that duty due to an act of carelessness or negligence by the defendant
  • Proving that the breach of duty caused the injuries to the plaintiff
  • Proving that the plaintiff sustained compensable losses (medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, etc.)

In a negligence case, it is not typically alleged that the defendant intentionally caused injuries to the plaintiff, but rather their actions or inaction were negligent or careless and led to an injury. 

Strict Liability 

When a case is brought on allegations of strict liability, the claimant may not need to prove negligence in order to obtain compensation. The legal theory of strict liability generally holds that a person can be financially responsible for damages even if they are not negligent in certain situations. We often find that strict liability laws arise around the following types of claims:

Intentional Tort 

Intentional tort cases arise anytime the defendant commits a crime or other wrongdoing on purpose, knowingly, maliciously, and consciously and causes harm to someone else. In cases of negligence and strict liability, those tort claims revolve around accidents or carelessness. In a successful intentional tort case, it will be shown that the defendant is guilty of doing something on purpose to hurt the plaintiff despite the foreseeable risk that was involved in the act. Intentional tort cases could result in both civil and criminal liability for the defendant. 

Working with an Attorney 

It is crucial that injury victims work with a skilled personal injury attorney when filing a tort case. These claims can become complicated, but an experienced attorney can use their resources to conduct a complete investigation into the incident, obtain any evidence needed to prove liability, properly calculate the plaintiff’s total losses, and work to secure full compensation. Most injury victims do not have the resources or legal expertise to handle these cases on their own, but a skilled attorney can help them through this entire process.