What is Tortious Injury?
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What is Tortious Injury?

Perhaps you’ve heard certain groups in society calling for “tort reform” to reduce the number of damages a person can claim in a lawsuit. Or perhaps you’re combing through an insurance contract or legal document, wondering what the phrase “tortious injury” means. A free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney can help you make sense of the legalese, but generally speaking, the word “tort” simply means “an injury caused by civil wrongdoing.”  

What are the most common examples of tortious injury cases? 

The wrongful act can be intentional, as in the case of assault, or it can be unintentional based on negligence. Tort lawsuits most commonly arise from automobile crashes, slip-and-fall accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability. They may also include animal attacks or intentional acts of violence, as well as fraud, defamation of character, false imprisonment, copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, and environmental pollution.  

Tortious injuries that typically garner the largest payouts include: 

  • “Hard injuries” like bone fractures, concussions, and spinal cord damage  
  • Scarring or disfiguring injuries like burns or facial lacerations 
  • Disabilities that cause blindness, deafness, lack of sensation, or mental incapacitation (TBI) 
  • Amputation or loss of use of digits, upper and/or lower limbs, quadriplegia, paraplegia, etc. 
  • Spinal cord injuries, nerve damage, chronic pain syndromes 

Tortious injuries can also include comparatively minor physical damage – soft tissue injuries, contusions, and lacerations. Not all injuries are visible, so psychologists and mental health experts are often called in to testify as to the complex effects of the tortious injury on a person.  

Tortious injuries are not always physical

A person who suffers a tortious injury is most commonly entitled to receive monetary compensation for physical, emotional, and economic losses. For instance, a person who broke a leg in a car accident can receive money to cover the ambulance, hospital visit, surgery fees, assistive devices, pain drugs, the cost of rehabilitation, and lost wages from time off work. These costs are easily tabulated and taken at face value.   

Some cases involve property damage. For instance, the property loss of the destroyed automobile will be included in the valuation. Kelley Blue Book offers a commonly used method of valuing vehicles based on the make and model, age, approximate mileage, condition, routine maintenance, and past history of crashes.     

An estimated amount of money will be then typically be included for the emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD inflicted. The courts have different formulas on how to determine a fair amount of pain and suffering, but many take the actual damages and multiply by 1-5x, depending on the severity and permanence of the injuries. Other courts may estimate a “per diem” amount, multiplied by the number of days expected for recovery.   

The practice of estimating for less tangible losses to reputation, constitutional rights, and privacy is extremely complex and varies widely from court to court. Reputational harm can be difficult to quantify but may include factors like lost profits, depressed stock prices, diminishes value, or impaired value of trademarks for a business. For a person filing civil rights or defamation claim, the damages may include lost employment opportunities or punitive damages simply designed to punish the tortfeasor for egregious wrongdoing. In these cases, it helps to have a highly experienced team of personal injury lawyers working on your case, as they possess familiarity with the nuances of the judges assigned to the case, with the range of potential outcomes, and with any relevant court cases that may have set a legal precedent.  

What happens if you have a tortious injury case? 

If you have a tortious injury case in Southern California, you can call Los Angeles personal injury lawyers for a free consultation to explore your legal options. If they agree to represent you, no money is owed until the successful resolution of your case through settlement or jury award. The goal of a tortious injury case processed through civil court is to make the plaintiff whole again through financial reparations, whether the wrongdoing was committed intentionally, negligently, or as a matter of strict liability. Call the lawyers at Ellis Injury Law today to discuss your options.

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