Litigation Lawyers in West Columbia
A "tort" in West Columbia, South Carolina is essentially any legally-recognized harm for which the victim is legally entitled to pursue compensation from the perpetrator.
In West Columbia, South Carolina, 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."
The law in West Columbia, South Carolina recognizes dozens of different torts. Some of them are fairly obscure, and don't come up frequently, and are largely relics of the common law. The torts that a person is most likely to deal with at some time in his or her life are negligence, fraud, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Types of Torts in West Columbia, South Carolina
Negligence: This is by far the tort that is most commonly dealt with in the courts of West Columbia, South Carolina. 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 noticeable example, and there are a practically infinite number of situations in which a negligence lawsuit can arise.
Fraud: In West Columbia, South Carolina, fraud is a fairly frequent tort that the local court system has to deal with, though it may not be quite as frequent 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 crucial 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: Intentional infliction of emotional distress, or IIED, is a relatively new tort in West Columbia, South Carolina. It is committed when someone deliberately causes emotional distress or trauma to another person by engaging in outrageous conduct, with the intent of causing such distress. Note that the defendant does not need to cause physical injuries to the plaintiff to be liable for IIED, but the plaintiff does have to produce evidence that they sustained emotional distress. This evidence normally comes in the form of a report from a psychiatrist who evaluated the plaintiff's mental condition.
How Can A West Columbia, South Carolina Tort Lawyer Help?
If somebody has hurt you, either intentionally or negligently, in West Columbia, South Carolina, you might have a cause of action. On the other hand, if you find yourself in the unenviable situation of being sued for a tort, you have a right to defend yourself, and will likely want to, for evident reasons.
In both instances, a seasoned West Columbia, South Carolina 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.