A business tort is a legal violation involving wrongdoing in a business setting or relationship. This type of tort typically covers legal conflicts involving unacceptable and intentional interference with another party’s business interests. Occasionally, this area of law overlaps with contract law.
Business torts can result in various losses, including:
- Loss of business prospects;
- Loss of business customers;
- Damage to, or loss of, business relations; and
- Loss of business concepts or protected works (such as trade secrets or copyrighted material)
Calculation of losses or business damages may be difficult; courts may need various forms of proof and, in some cases, may use an expert witness to help sort out losses and damages. Business torts are not the same as personal injury torts. Personal injury torts involve injury or harm to a person’s body or property damage, such as an assault or a car accident.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
In a claim for personal injury, a plaintiff asserts that they have sustained an injury, either mental, physical, or both, due to any act or failure to act by the defendant. A court may award the plaintiff money damages for personal injury.
What Are Some Types of Business Torts?
Business torts can take many different forms.
Some typical examples of business torts are:
- Wrongful Interference: When a third party intentionally interferes with two parties’ business relations, such as agreements and negotiations.
- Disparagement: This happens when the defendant transmits false statements about the rate of a company’s products or goods. As a result, the company loses business and experiences losses. These types of false statements include fake reviews, libel, and slander.
- Unfair Competition: This is where a defendant misappropriates the plaintiff’s intellectual property, such as a trademark or slogan, or puts out a product intended to perplex customers into thinking that the plaintiff put out the product. The plaintiff usually files a trademark or copyright infringement lawsuit.
Different parties can be held liable for business parties. In some cases, multiple persons can be involved in a single violation, especially where a group has precisely planned tortious conduct.
What Are Some Business Tort Remedies?
Remedies in a business tort action commonly involve monetary damages. This means that the defendant is bound to pay the plaintiff money to compensate for any financial losses that the plaintiff’s business suffered.
The court calculates losses such as:
- Loss of business reputation;
- Loss of profits that are calculable with reasonable certainty; and
- Punitive damages (damages that are intended to punish the defendant for particularly egregious or harmful conduct).
Another class of remedies is called equitable remedies. This involves the court administering an injunction or an order, which tells the defendant to either take specific actions or stop certain conduct. An example of this is where the court compels the defendant to stop using material that the plaintiff has already copyrighted.
Are There Any Factors that Can Affect a Damages Award?
Depending on the case, various factors can affect or reduce the plaintiff’s damages award. For example, one type of business tort is the theft of trade secrets. This happens when a person steals or obtains confidential business information without the other party’s consent. If it turns out that the “trade secret” is public, well-known knowledge, it may impact the plaintiff’s ability to collect damages.
In other circumstances, consent can be a defense to a business tort. For example, if the other party consents to use the business information or knowledge, the plaintiff might not be able to recover damages. If the party had agreed to the use of the data, knowledge, or trade secrets, it could impact the case.
Lastly, if the plaintiff waits too long before filing a lawsuit, they may be precluded from filing the suit and collecting damages. Business torts may be subject to a statute of limitations or a filing deadline for the case. The deadline for filing may depend on state and local laws.
Statute of Limitations Definition
Statute of limitations is a legal term used to represent state statutes that limit the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a civil lawsuit or the amount of time to file a criminal complaint against a defendant.
The statute of limitations restricts the plaintiff by setting a deadline for filing their lawsuit; if enough time has passed, the plaintiff or criminal prosecutor is barred from bringing their case against the defendant.
The deadline for filing a lawsuit differs depending on the kind of suit being filed and the applicable state statutes where the plaintiff is filing the lawsuit.
Why Do States Have Statutes of Limitations?
As noted above, one purpose of the statute of limitations is to shield defendants from untimely litigation. The statute of limitations allows plaintiffs to seek proper claims against defendants, but only when the plaintiffs exercise due diligence in timely filing the claims.
Once again, what is deemed a timely claim filing will depend on the state where the claim is being filed and the type of claim. For instance, in Texas, an ordinary statute of limitations for a plaintiff to file a civil lawsuit is two years from the date of the incident.
There are three primary reasons why the law enacts statutes of limitations:
- The statute compels a plaintiff with a valid cause of action to bring the claim timely;
- Bringing a claim untimely may result in the loss of evidence by a defendant required to defend themselves against the claim; and
- Litigation of a long-dormant claim may result in more brutality than justice.
Why Is it Important to Have a Tort Attorney?
Having a tort lawyer on your case can differentiate between a successful claim and an unsuccessful claim. Tort cases can be very difficult, involve multiple areas of law, and differ by state. Tort attorneys are familiar with all areas of tort laws and will know the regulations in their areas.
It is also essential to mention that, in many circumstances, tort claims will involve entities such as insurance companies and hospitals who have lawyers on staff to defend claims made against them. Having an attorney on your case will likely supply you with the only route to compensation.
For instance, medical malpractice claims can be nearly unthinkable for patients to handle alone. These cases are costly and involve complicated facts and expert medical witnesses. As noted above, physicians and hospitals often have the resources to contest such claims.
It is essential to hire a tort lawyer as soon as possible following your injury or loss. Most cases have a statute of limitations that will stop you from filing your claim if you wait too long. A tort lawyer will be familiar with these time conditions and file your claim accordingly.
How Do I Know if a Tort Lawyer is Right for Me?
Tort laws are comprehensive and cover many potential issues. A tort attorney can help you identify whether you have been a tort victim, who potential defendants may be, and advise you of your chances of recovering damages.
If you have suffered harm to your person or your property, you should consult with a tort attorney to discuss a potential lawsuit. An experienced tort attorney can help you navigate a complicated claim from beginning to end. They can file a lawsuit, communicate with a defendant or lawyer, negotiate on your behalf, and represent you in court.
If you have suffered losses due to an injury, a tort attorney can help you obtain monetary damages for your losses. Tort laws may differ by jurisdiction, so it is essential to have an experienced and knowledgeable tort attorney. A tort lawyer is your best chance at compensation for any injuries or losses you have suffered.
Do I Need an Attorney Regarding a Business Tort Action?
A company is just like a person in that any harm caused to it needs to be remedied. If a business tort has harmed your company, it is best to talk with a tort attorney near you about pursuing remedies for your company. Your lawyer can provide advice and representation for your case.