Litigation Lawyers in Santa Maria
In Santa Maria, California, a "tort" is specified as any civil wrong, besides breach of contract, for which the law provides a remedy.
In Santa Maria, California, a tort is essentially any bad thing that one person can do to another, which the law says the victim can sue over. This is called a "cause of action."
Santa Maria, California's laws recognize many different torts. Nonetheless, the civil litigation system only deals with a few of these dozens of torts with any frequency. While the most obscure torts are sometimes litigated, there are only a small amount that the ordinary person is likely to deal with (either as a plaintiff or defendant) at some point in their lives. They include fraud, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and battery.
Types of Torts in Santa Maria, California
Negligence: This is by far the tort that is most often dealt with in the courts of Santa Maria, California. Put simply, negligence is a failure to exercise a reasonable amount of care, and causing harm to someone as a result. For instance, driving 30 miles per hour over the speed limit is obviously very careless. So, if you are driving that fast, and your speed causes you to get into an accident that harms someone else (either their body or their property), you have committed negligence, and will be obligated to compensate the victim for the harm that you caused. You should know, however, that this is just an evident example, and there are a practically infinite number of situations in which a negligence lawsuit can arise.
Fraud: In Santa Maria, California, fraud is a fairly common tort that the local court system has to deal with, though it may not be quite as common as negligence. To put it in the simplest terms possible, fraud is a deliberate lie that causes tangible harm (such as financial loss) to the person to whom the lie is told. Fraud is committed in a wide variety of contexts, but it most often happens when someone is trying to sell a product for more than it's worth. They might lie to a prospective buyer about the product's quality or value. If the buyer relies on this misrepresentation when deciding to buy the product, they are the victim of fraud, and have a right to sue the seller for their financial losses, and possibly recover punitive damages.
element of battery is pretty straightforward: if you engage in physical contact with another that causes pain and/or injury, you've committed battery. It's critical to note that the contact does not need to be harmful to amount to battery - it can also be offensive. What constitutes "offensive" contact is largely subjective, and unless the conduct is truly sleazy (unwanted sexual contact, for example), a battery lawsuit is pretty unlikely to result. One of the more grave forms of battery can occur when a patient is in surgery, and the surgeon, for whatever reason, operates on the wrong body part. Because the patient did not consent to this contact, the surgeon has committed a severe form of battery.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: This is a tort in Santa Maria, California that involves emotional distress, and does not need physical harm or financial loss. It is also known by the acronym IIED. IIED is committed when a person engages in outrageous conduct towards another, with the intent of causing emotional distress, and actually causes the intended distress.
How Can A Santa Maria, California Tort Lawyer Help?
If you believe that you've been the victim of a tort in Santa Maria, California, you have a right to go to court and try 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 liable, you have every right to defend yourself in court.
In both cases, a reputable Santa Maria, California 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.