Understanding the Difference: Torts vs Personal Injury Lawsuits and How They Impact Your Compensation Claim

EAU CLAIRE, Wisconsin – If you have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, a dangerous property, or a defective product, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. As you navigate through the recovery process, you may find yourself questioning whether you have a tort case or a personal injury lawsuit.

Differentiating between the two can provide clarity on the necessary steps you should take next.

Torts and personal injury lawsuits may share some similarities, but they are distinct concepts. A tort refers to a wrongful act that infringes upon another individual’s legal rights. On the other hand, a personal injury lawsuit is a narrower term, encompassing any personal injury that arises as a result of a tort.

What sets personal injuries apart from torts is that they involve physical or emotional harm caused by another person. The responsible party may have acted intentionally or negligently.

Trespassing serves as a prime example of a tort, as it violates a property owner’s rights when someone enters their property without permission. Conversely, car accidents are common personal injury cases, often caused by drivers who fail to adhere to traffic laws.

Torts can be classified into three main categories:

1. Intentional Torts: These occur when someone deliberately harms another person. Examples include assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and trespassing.

2. Negligent Torts: Every personal injury claim falls under this category, where harm is caused by another person’s carelessness. Slip and fall accidents and car collisions fall into this classification when individuals fail to fulfill their duty of care.

3. Strict Liability Torts: These cases assign liability to a party, even if they took all necessary precautions to prevent an accident. Dog bites frequently fall under this category.

Mass torts represent another aspect of the legal landscape, reserved for situations where a single action or inaction harms multiple individuals. Defective drugs or medical equipment often trigger mass tort claims. While the injuries may differ among the affected individuals, they all stem from the same source. Combining these cases into one legal action streamlines the process and expedites resolution.

In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations establishes time limits for filing tort or personal injury lawsuits. Generally, individuals have three years from the date of the accident or injury to take legal action, with exceptions depending on the circumstances.

When filing a claim against a government entity, the window for filing is considerably shorter. Claimants must provide notice of their claim within 120 days of the incident and file the lawsuit within two years.

For wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations in Wisconsin is three years. However, motor vehicle accident-related wrongful deaths face a two-year deadline from the date of death.

If an injury occurs during a person’s minor years, the statute of limitations may be extended until they turn 18. It’s essential to be aware of specific deadlines and seek legal advice promptly when representing an injured minor.

Acting promptly is crucial, even if the statute of limitations is shortened. As time passes, vital evidence may vanish, making it challenging to pursue a tort or personal injury lawsuit. Fortunately, injured victims in Eau Claire can get assistance from personal injury attorneys who can initiate their case and advocate on their behalf.

By understanding the differences between torts and personal injury lawsuits, victims can navigate the legal process with greater clarity and take appropriate action to seek compensation for their injuries.