A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a civil wrong[1] that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act.

Tort law, where the purpose of any action is to obtain a private civil remedy such as damages, may be compared to criminal law, which deals with criminal wrongs that are punishable by the state. Tort law may also be contrasted with contract law which also provides a civil remedy after breach of duty; but whereas the contractual obligation is one chosen by the parties, the obligation in both tort and crime is imposed by the state. In both contract and tort, successful claimants must show that they have suffered foreseeable loss or harm as a direct result of the breach of duty.[2][3]


The person who commits the act is called a tortfeasor. Although crimes may be torts, the cause of legal action in civil torts is not necessarily the result of criminal action; the harm in civil torts may be due to negligence, which does not amount to criminal negligence. The victim of the harm can recover their loss as damages in a lawsuit. In order to prevail, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, commonly referred to as the injured party, must show that the actions or lack of action was the legally recognizable cause of the harm. The equivalent of tort in civil law jurisdictions is "delict".

Legal injuries are not limited to physical injuries and may include emotional, economic,[4] or reputational injuries as well as violations of privacy, property, or constitutional rights. Torts comprise such varied topics as automobile accidents, false imprisonment, defamation, product liability, copyright infringement, and environmental pollution (toxic torts).

Compared to criminal cases, tort lawsuits have a lower burden of proof, namely "preponderance of evidence",[5] rather than beyond a reasonable doubt. Sometimes a claimant may prevail in a tort case even if the defendant who allegedly caused harm were acquitted in an earlier criminal trial. For example, O. J. Simpson was acquitted in criminal court of murder but later found liable for the tort of wrongful death.

Both tort law and criminal law may impose liability where there is:

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Deliktereg
asturianu: Tort
বাংলা: টর্ট
čeština: Tort
Ελληνικά: Άδικη πράξη
español: Tort
فارسی: شبه‌جرم
한국어: 불법행위
हिन्दी: अपकृत्य
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಅಪಕೃತ್ಯ
lietuvių: Deliktų teisė
magyar: Sérelemdíj
Bahasa Melayu: Tort
Nederlands: Onrechtmatige daad
नेपाली: अपकृत्य
日本語: 不法行為
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਟੋਰਟ
polski: Delikt
සිංහල: තෝරත
Simple English: Tort
тоҷикӣ: Шабеҳи ҷурм
Winaray: Tort
中文: 侵权行为