Most civil (as opposed to criminal) lawsuits where one party is seeking a monetary judgment against the other party arise from either tort claims or contract claims. While breach of contract is the violation of some obligation created by a contract between the two parties, a tort is a wrongful act that violates another person’s legal rights and causes injury.

The most common example of a tort is negligence, where a person causes injury by failing in some duty owed to somebody else. This is the tort most often involved in car wrecks, medical malpractice claims, and premises liability cases. Other torts include fraud, defamation, false imprisonment, assault and/or battery, and conversion (the civil version of theft of property).

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