Athens Tort Lawyers
In Athens, Alabama, a "tort" is defined as any civil wrong, besides breach of contract, for which the law provides a remedy.
Typically, any bad act in Athens, Alabama that gives you the legal right to sue the person who committed the act, is a tort. Your specific right to sue is called a "cause of action."
The law of Athens, Alabama recognizes various dozen different torts, but only a few of them are truly litigated with any frequency, and many of them are relics of a bygone age. However, there are a few torts that are litigated very frequently. These torts are negligence, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and battery.
Types of Torts in Athens, Alabama
Negligence: In Athens, Alabama, negligence is the most frequently-litigated tort. It is defined as a failure to act (in any situation) with a reasonable level of care, and causing harm as a result of that carelessness. For example, if a store that's open to the public fails to remove ice from its front entrance, or put up any kind of warning, even though it knows that the ice is there, it is not exercising reasonable care. If someone is injured as a result, the store owner will likely be required to compensate them for their injuries. This is, obviously, just an example.
Fraud: Fraud is another prevalent tort litigated in Athens, Alabama courts. Fraud is defined as the deliberate misrepresentation of facts made for financial, or other personal gain, which causes harm to someone else. Typically, fraud is committed when a product or service is sold, and the seller lies about the nature or quality of the thing being sold. If, in deciding to buy what the fraudster is selling, the victim relies on the false statements, the seller has committed fraud. The buyer can then sue the seller, to seek compensation for their losses. At the very least, they will typically receive the difference between the fair market value of the thing they bought, and what they paid for it.
Battery: Battery in Athens, Alabama is defined as any harmful or offensive contact with the person of another, without the victim's consent. Punching someone in the face would qualify as battery, as would virtually any unwanted physical contact, particularly of a sexual nature. It can also occur when a doctor operates on a body part without the patient's consent.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress: Also known as IIED in Athens, Alabama, intentional infliction of emotional distress is a fairly new cause of action, having not been recognized until the 20th century. In order to succeed in an IIED lawsuit, the plaintiff has to establish that the defendant engaged in some kind of "outrageous" conduct, which was severe enough to "shock the conscience" of a reasonable person. They must also show that the defendant directly intended to cause emotional distress, and did, in fact, cause severe emotional distress. Proving that the plaintiff suffered trauma or distress as a result of the defendant's conduct is not as easy as it may sound, and usually requires the testimony of a psychiatric professional who has examined the plaintiff.
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How Can A Athens, Alabama Tort Lawyer Help?
If you believe that you've been the victim of a tort in Athens, Alabama, you have a right to go to court and attempt to prove your case. On the other hand, if you find that you are being sued for a tort, and believe that you aren't responsible, you have every right to defend yourself in court.
In both situations, a knowledgeable Athens, Alabama tort lawyer will probably prove indispensable. The best thing you can do early in the process is make a good-faith effort to negotiate a settlement with the other side, to prevent the matter from going to trial in the first place, which will often prove more costly than settling. Most tort lawyers are also skilled negotiators, and will be able to help you on this front, too.