Litigation Lawyers in Middletown
A "tort" in Middletown, Pennsylvania is basically any legally-recognized harm for which the victim is legally entitled to pursue compensation from the perpetrator.
Essentially, any bad act in Middletown, Pennsylvania 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 in Middletown, Pennsylvania recognizes dozens of different torts. Some of them are fairly obscure, and don't come up often, and are largely relics of the common law. The torts that a person is most likely to deal with at some point in his or her life are negligence, fraud, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Types of Torts in Middletown, Pennsylvania
Negligence: Negligence is the most often-litigated tort in Middletown, Pennsylvania's civil litigation system. Negligence occurs when somebody does not exercise the level of care that a "reasonable person" would exercise in a similar situation, and causes an injury as a direct result. As an example, most people know that running a stop sign at high speed is very careless, and no reasonable person would be expected to do such a thing. Doing so clearly falls below the ordinary standard of care. So, if a person runs a stop sign at high speed, and hits another car, causing injuries and property damage, they will be liable to the person they harmed for the cost of whatever harm they caused.
Fraud: Fraud is an intentional tort, unlike negligence. It is also dealt with fairly often by courts in Middletown, Pennsylvania. Fraud is a lie that one person tells to another, with the intent to harm the other person, usually by inducing them to give money or property to the person committing the fraud. Fraud can occur in a wide variety of different contexts. For example, suppose a jeweler tries to sell a fake diamond to a customer, by passing it off as the real thing. If the customer believes the jeweler's lie, and bases his buying decision on it, the jeweler has committed fraud. If the customer discovers this fraud, he will be able to sue the jeweler, and recover, at the very least, the difference between the value of the fake diamond, and what he paid for it.
Battery: Battery in Middletown, Pennsylvania 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 Middletown, Pennsylvania, intentional infliction of emotional distress is a fairly new cause of action, having not been recognized until the 20th century. In order to prevail in an IIED lawsuit, the plaintiff has to prove 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 actually 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.
How Can A Middletown, Pennsylvania Tort Lawyer Help?
If you believe that you've been the victim of a tort in Middletown, Pennsylvania, 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 liable, you have every right to defend yourself in court.
In both situations, a good Middletown, Pennsylvania 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.