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In the common law, a tort is a civil wrong for which the law provides a remedy. The term comes from Law French and means, literally, 'a wrong'.

The "law of torts" is a body of civil law or private law that covers the various legal (money damages) and equitable remedies which the law provides for civil wrongs arising from extra-contractual liability, i.e., other than those wrongs which arise from a breach of contractual obligations.

There is some overlap between tort law and criminal law - some acts may at once constitute both a tort and a crime - and many crimes may be viewed as particularly egregious torts. A cause of action in tort can also be distinguished from a criminal prosecution which may arise from the alleged violation of a criminal statute. The former is typically prosecuted by a private citizen, whereas the latter is prosecuted by the state, and one or both may be brought forth independently. Moreover, remedies for torts can take the form of compensation for damages or injunctive relief. A criminal prosecution usually results in the imposition of a sentence, such as a fine and/or incarceration.

See also

Abuse of process, Defamation, Good faith, Legal immunity, Loss of consortium, Interference with contractual relations, Malicious prosecution, Malpractice, Negligence, Negligence per se, Passing off, Product liability, Proximate cause, Remedies, Res ipsa loquitur, Slander and libel, Trespass

Well-known tort cases: Stella Liebeck v. McDonald's Corporation, Donoghue v. Stevenson, Gutnick v. Dow Jones