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Tort Vs. Criminal Laws: Definition, Examples, Differences

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Lorenzo Novas
Lorenzo Novashttp://ellarei.com
Lorenzo has a keen eye for detail and a natural gift for storytelling, allowing him to craft compelling content that captivates and informs his readers. Whether he's exploring the latest trends in technology, delving into the intricacies of finance, or sharing his insights on travel and culture, Lorenzo's work is always engaging and thought-provoking.

Law terms are very detail-oriented so that the criminal does not find the loophole to get away from crime. That is why when a new sort of problem arises, the law gets updated. As it is very detailed and long, it can be boring to read and comprehend everything as a whole.

So, there are confusions in a different part of the laws and its paragraphs. From the confusions, tort vs. criminal laws is the most confusing. Sometimes same actions are considered as both tort and crime.

In this article, we will try to clear the confusion by providing definitions, examples, and differences. Stay with us!

Tort Vs. Criminal Laws [Explained]

According to the variation of tort and criminal actions, lawsuits vary. Again punishment, compensation, and imprisonment also depend on that verdict.

So, if you have committed any wrongdoings and are confused about your action, talk to your legal advisor. If it is not possible, try to have a simple idea from this discussion.

What is a tort?

A tort is called the low penalty crime. When someone does something wrong with the other party, and it hurts them personally with any long-term effect is called a tort. Every claim that is heard in the civil court except the conceptual dispute is a tort case.

The main outcome of filing a tort case is to give a penalty to the wrongdoer and give a little something to the victim as compensation. It could be money, medical bills, apology, or fixing the property, which was damaged by the wrongdoer’s action. This kind of case is called the revival of justice as it tries to repair what was damaged before.

Why is tort unlawful activity?

A tort is a minor but an unlawful activity because-

  1. It causes bodily harm to an individual and can cause probable impairment of a person.
  2. It is against the civil rights of a person living in a society.
  3. It is against the written law, and the civil court handles the hearing and trial.

What are the types of tort case?

There are three types of tort cases that are not a crime and do not include a severe level of penalty. Such as-

Negligence tort:

It happens when people neglect their duties, and people fall victim to it. It generally occurs in nursing homes when some on-duty nurse or doctor neglect their duty.

As a result, the patient gets sicker and do not get proper treatment on time. So s/he can apply for negligence tort cases. By doing that, they may get some compensation money, apology, and written acknowledgment of not doing it again.

Intentional harm:

If the wrongdoer intentionally harms someone and then the victim files for a tort case, they are getting sued if the alleged do not pay for the claimed monetary settlement. Intentional harm could be minor assault such as slapping someone, molestation but not physically, fraud, theft, etc. As it is intentional, the case could get strong if they refuse to take the penalty.

Strict liability tort:

It is unintentional and also not happened for negligence. For example, by taking defective medicine from a drug company, many people got sick, and they filed for a tort case against the company. Now, the effort on manufacturing medicine was serious.

They may be unintentionally messed up and worked hard in it (so, there is also no question for negligence.). However, the case is filled, and they need to give compensation, such as getting fined or anything according to the judge’s verdict.

Examples of tort

Intentional tort:

The Gawker-Hulk Hogan case on 18 March 2016 is a good example of it. Hogan was awarded $140 million because of malicious tort rule because Gawker was found to deliberately violate his privacy to gain video proof of a private event.

Strict liability tort:

A self-driving Google-made car crashed into a bus in Mountain View, Calif, in February 2016. The car crashed on a group of sandbags near a storm drain system. Then it went into plunging to another lane. On the effort of stopping it, it hit a public bus.

What is a crime?

Crime means doing something wrong that hurts another person or society. When it comes to society, even if any person does not file for complaint, the state government will look into it.

It may include- Threats and Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic violence, Child and Elder Abuse and neglect, gang violence, etc. To be a crime, the action needs to fulfill the following questions-

  • Is it go against the existent law of our society?
  • Does it cause any harm to the citizens who live in our society lawfully and peacefully?
  • Has it intentionally been done to hurt or shatter the fundamental law of society?

Examples of crime

According to Wikipedia, crime list in Canada of 2016 (on an average),

  • Homicide: 1.68
  • Attempted murder: 2.14
  • Sexual assault (not including against children): 57.91
  • Sexual violations against children: 19.06
  • Assault (not including against a police officer): 574.04
  • Assaults against a peace officer: 27.47

Differences between tort and crime

Firstly, crime is wrongdoing which happens to hurt the rules and regulation of the society. On the other hand, a tort hampers the individual right of a person or to his/her property.

Secondly, crime happens mostly intentionally against someone to get the unlawful benefit by a deliberate act of misdeed. But tort mostly happens out of negligence. But it can also happen intentionally and strict liabilities. In these cases, the output should be minor.

Thirdly, crime is set to be heard in the criminal court. But tort is presented in the civil court.

Finally, the compensation, penalty is already fixed in books of the law. According to this, the judge gives the verdict to set the rules in society for individuals to live peacefully. Otherwise, society will crumble upon the feet of the criminals.

On the contrary, the penalty or the compensation money is given by considering the severity of the victim party. The matter in consideration could be medical bills, loss of property, lost wages from the time of the accident, and to future.


To summarize, criminal law is set to protect the rules of our society and punish the criminals who committed the crime. But a tort is mainly taken under consideration to help the victim stand on their feet after the wrongdoing.

Whatever it is called, crime or tort cases, it should not have happened because it has a bad effect on both parties and their families. Now hopefully, the confusion between tort vs criminal laws is cleared. So, stay away from any of it and do your job honestly and peacefully.

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