Berkeley Tort Lawyers
In Berkeley, California, a "tort" is specified as any civil wrong, besides breach of contract, for which the law provides a remedy.
Typically, any bad act in Berkeley, California that gives you the legal right to sue the person who committed the act, is a tort. Your particular right to sue is called a "cause of action."
Statutes and appellate court rulings in Berkeley, California recognize a very considerable number of different torts. However, most of these torts are largely relics of history, and are no longer litigated very frequently, if at all. There are only a few that the average person has a decent chance of dealing with at least once in their lives. They include, but aren't limited to, negligence, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and battery.
Types of Torts in Berkeley, California
Negligence: In Berkeley, California, 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 instance, 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 anyone 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: Unlike negligence, fraud is an intentional tort. Like negligence, courts in Berkeley, California deal with it quite often. Put simply, fraud is a lie told for personal gain. It requires an affirmative misrepresentation, which the speaker knows to be false, intended to induce the victim to render some benefit to the speaker, which causes actual harm (such as financial loss) to the victim. It occurs most frequently when somebody is trying to sell something for more than it's worth, and lies about the nature or value of the product to the buyer. If the buyer relies on the seller's false statements of fact in making the decision to buy the product, the seller has committed fraud. In such a situation, the buyer is legally entitled to compensation for the harm suffered as a result of the fraud.
Battery: Battery is defined by the law of Berkeley, California as any contact by one person, with the body of another, which is offensive or harmful. Any conduct that causes physical injury, pain, or emotional distress is battery. Also, you do not need to directly touch a person with your own body to commit battery - simply directing harmful contact (say, by throwing a rock) toward another person is sufficient to create liability for battery. Battery can also arise from "offensive" contact, which is typically any physical contact that violates one's sense of personal dignity constitutes battery, and the victim could technically sue over it. Nonetheless, in most cases like that, the plaintiff hasn't sustained any real harm, and will only be able to recover nominal damages, which would be far, far less than the cost of filing a lawsuit.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: Intentional infliction of emotional distress is also called IIED in Berkeley, California, and it was not identified as a valid cause of action until fairly recently (for the longest time, physical harm was a requirement before someone could sue for tort damages). To hold a defendant liable for IIED, it must be shown that the defendant engaged in some type of outrageous conduct, targeted at the plaintiff. Moreover, it must be shown that this conduct directly caused severe emotional distress in the plaintiff, and that that was the defendant's intent. Establishing that actual emotional distress occurred is the most difficult element of this tort, and the plaintiff's word is far from sufficient. It often requires intensive examination by a psychiatrist, who will then testify as to the plaintiff's mental state.
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How Can A Berkeley, California Tort Lawyer Help?
If someone has committed a tort against in you Berkeley, California, you have a legal power to seek compensation. Moreover, if someone has sued you, alleging that you committed a tort, you have a right to mount a legal defense.
In either of those situations, you will almost definitely benefit from the counsel of a competent tort lawyer in Berkeley, California. In addition to improving your chances of winning your case, should it go to trial, a reliable lawyer will also make every effort to prevent the issue from going to trial in the first place, by attempting to negotiate a settlement with the other side that's acceptable to both parties.