What is a tort? and what are the essential elements of tort? Tort means a civil wrongful act. There are three essentials of tort that can be seen in the law of torts. Before, discussing them, let’s see the meaning of tort.
What is the Meaning of Tort Law?
Tort law meaning is defined as the term ‘tort’ has been derived from the Latin word ‘tortum’ which means ‘twisted’. And the word ‘tort’ is also found in french which means ‘wrong’. It is basically referred to as an act that is wrongful. A tort is a ‘civil wrong’.
In short, a tort is a wrongful act in which the wrongdoer violates the legal rights of the other person. And, when the legal right is breached then it is known as tort.
The tort meaning has been defined by Prof. Winfield in his book “The Law of Torts”. Tort means, ‘all injuries that have done to the other person are torts unless and until justify it recognized by the law.’
The definition of is tort is given under section 2(m) of the Limitation Act, 1963, as ‘ Tort means a civil wrong which is not exclusively a breach of contract or breach of trust.’ These are the definition of a tort law.
Essential Elements of Tort
Now, let’s discuss the essentials of tort, there are mainly three essentials to constitute a tort or civil injury. And, these are;
- A wrongful act or omission
- Legal damage
- Legal remedy
Here, we discussed the essential of torts in brief;
|Essentials of Tort|
1. A Wrongful Act or Omission
A person is liable under tort when he/she must have been done some actions which he/she was not expected to do so or he/she must have been omitted some act which is he/she expected to do.
A wrongful act is an act that affects the legal rights of other persons. Such wrongful acts were recognized by the laws, and the wrongful acts are the acts that are in violation of such laws.
The wrongful act can be committed both either morally and legally at a similar time.
Whenever any wrongful act is committed and that violates the legal rights of the other person or violates a legal duty then the liability of tort arises.
If any activity seems to be prima facie (at the first impression) innocent but later looks like infringing someone’s legal rights. Innuendo is the perfect example of this.
Here, ‘Innuendo’ means, that the statement looks innocent at the first sight but has a secondary view that harms the reputation of the other person in the eyes of the public or the person before whom such statement is passed.
Example: In one’s religion, non-vegetarian foods are strictly prohibited, if someone forcefully fed him non-vegetarian food then it is a legal wrong. But, if he itself eats non-vegetarian foods without any force then he is morally wrong but not legally.
General Cleaning Cor. Ltd. v/s Christmas, 1953
In this case, the court held that it is a duty of an employer to provide safety equipment that is mandatory and essential for safe work, if the employer failed to provide such essential equipment to the workers then he would be liable for the consequences of that omission.
2. Legal Damage
Another important essential of tort is legal damage. Here, legal damage means injury to the body of a person, property of the other person, or injury to the legal rights of the other person. In simple words, legal damage means violation or infringement of legal rights.
There are two words, damage, and damages. These words look similar but the legal meanings of these words are totally different. So, as we have seen damage means injury whereas damages mean compensation.
An injury caused to the plaintiff, it is the duty of the plaintiff to prove there was a wrongful act or omission on the part of the defendant causing thereby a breach of legal duty or violation of legal rights of the plaintiff.
Therefore, the plaintiff is bound to prove that there has been legal damage caused to him by the other person. Hence, violation of legal rights is actionable.
There are two principles in torts;
- Damnum Sine Injuria
- Injuria Sine Damnum
1. Damnum Sine Injuria
This is a Latin maxim damnum sine injuria that means damage without an injury. In other words, it means causing damage howsoever substantial to the other person is not actionable in law unless and until there is a violation of some legal rights of the other person. Therefore, there is no compensation for the plaintiff unless there is no violation of legal rights.
2. Injuria Sine Damnum
This is a Latin maxim injuria sine damnum that means an injury without damage. In this, the plaintiff suffered from the legal damage and not from actual loss. This means there is a violation of legal rights but actual damage or loss is not caused to the plaintiff.
3. Legal Remedy
Legal remedy is the third essential of tort. The wrongful act or omission of the defendant must be an actual wrong which arises remedy is a civil action for those damages.
The essential remedy for tort is an action, but, there are other remedies available like injunction.
The law of tort is similar to the Latin maxim ‘Ubi jus ibi remedium‘ which means there is no right without a remedy.
Thus, there are three essential elements of tort. If any one of these essentials of tort is missing or absent then there is no tort. Where wrongful acts or omissions there is legal damage, both go hand in hand.