Torts are wrongful actions by one party that cause an injury to another party’s person, reputation, property, or business interests. Torts are classified based on the defendant wrongdoer’s conduct. The common law recognizes two categories of fault-based torts -- intentional torts and negligence – and a few types of no-fault or strict liability torts. Intentional and negligent torts require some culpability or fault by the defendant, while strict liability torts impose liability without fault, even when the defendant acted with the utmost care to prevent the plaintiff’s injuries.
Unlike criminal wrongs, torts are civil wrongs that allow injured parties to seek compensatory damages and/or equitable relief for the harms they suffered – and where the defendant’s conduct is particularly egregious, punitive damages may be available to “punish” the defendant.