Q: What is a tort?

A: A tort is committed when you injure a person, property, or reputation – it doesn’t matter whether the injury was done on purpose or by accident. You may be sued by the victim in civil court (but remember, some torts – like assault – are also crimes, so you could have to appear in both civil and criminal courts for the same conduct). If you are found to be at fault, the court will order you to pay damages.

Some examples of torts:

  • Negligent driving — injuring persons and/or property.
  • Assault — unlawfully attempting to touch or hurt another person.
  • Battery — intentionally touching another person without his or her consent.
  • False imprisonment — keeping someone in a room or a car or other place so he or she can’t leave.
  • Defamation — an unlawful written or spoken attack on the reputation or good name of another person.


Laws may have changed since the last time this article was updated.  The current and most up-to-date laws can be accessed here.