Learn More About Tort Law


What is a tort?

It’s a rich, delicious multilayer cake that you might find at your local boutique bakery, right? We’d love that kind of torte (unlike the legal term, the cake has an e at the end of its name!) but for now, let’s focus on torts and tort reform.

A tort, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is “a wrongful act or an infringement of a right leading to a civil legal liability.” Essentially, a tort is an action which is against the law, but isn’t necessarily a crime. Car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other personal injury matters fall under this category. They are against the law, and can cause harm or damage, but aren’t crimes, unlike murder, arson, or embezzlement.

There are three categories of torts:

  1. Intentional. Battery, assault, or any action done with malicious intent to harm another person
  2. Negligent. A doctor forgets about a patient in a hospital
  3. Strict Liability.  A recalled product causes harm, even if that was not the intention of the manufacturer

Tort law is different from criminal law mainly because torts can result from negligence, rather than just intentional actions. In some cases, a plaintiff may not be successful during a criminal trial, but can still win in a tort case. For example, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder in a criminal court in 1995, but was still found liable for wrongful death.

What is tort reform?

Tort reform occurs when the state attempts to put a cap on the amount of money that someone can seek in damages for a personal injury. Maybe you’ve read about a case that earned a victim an incredibly high compensation fee. Sometimes, the damages awarded can reach into the millions or higher! Some people are opposed to these high numbers, and argue that excessive awards create an oppressive tax on businesses. Additionally, they believe that damages need to be awarded on a case-by-case basis.

In Florida, damages are usually capped at $500,000.  If the court finds that the defendant specifically intended to cause harm, the cap may be lifted.

Now you know the basics of tort law, and what tort reform is! For more information, check out this website.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.



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