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What is a Tort Case, and What does it Involve in Virginia?

A tort case arises when a person suffers an injury, loss, harm, or damage, and such a person files a claim against the perpetrator for compensation. Torts cases may involve individuals, organizations, government agencies, and public authorities. Although a criminal offense may arise out of a tort, tort claims are civil, as such claims seek civil remedies. Typically, the remedy is monetary. Tort cases may involve a range of personal injury claims; however, tort laws do not cover contract breaches. Persons aged 18 and older or legally emancipated persons may file tort claims. In Virginia, the Circuit Courts and the General District Courts hear tort cases. Each court has jurisdiction over different tort cases, but in some instances, the jurisdiction overlaps.

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  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What is Virginia Tort Law?

Since tort cases are civil, Virginia’s Civil Remedies and Procedure offer guidelines for tort cases and tort claims in the state. It highlights the state’s provisions for civil cases, the statute of limitations for filing claims, information on filing motions, and claim appeals.

What Kinds of Cases are Covered by Tort Law in Virginia?

Virginia’s tort law covers different types of tort cases, including:

  • Intentional tort: these are cases that arise when the defendant acts with intent to harm the plaintiff. If the defendant’s actions hurt the plaintiff, then it is an intentional tort. Examples of deliberate tort cases may include:
    • Battery: intentional harmful contact with another person’s body
    • Assault: intended offensive contact with another person
    • Assisted suicide: intentionally helping another person to commit suicide or participating in another person’s suicide
    • Emotional distress: deliberate infliction of emotional distress
    • False imprisonment: physically restraining or confining another person against the person’s will
  • Negligent tort, also known as an unintentional tort: is a tort that does not intend to cause harm or injure another person. Examples of negligent tort cases include:
    • Legal malpractice
    • Medical malpractice
    • Negligent infliction of emotional distress
  • Reputation-based torts: this tort involves non-physical or intangible injuries. Reputation-based torts, also known as dignity torts, cause injury or harm to a person’s reputation. Examples of reputation-based torts cases include:
    • Invasion of privacy: using another person’s computer without permission to access the person’s financial or identifying information, such as credit and salary information or employment information.
    • Unauthorized use of a person’s name or picture: using another person’s photo, likeness, or name without written permission
    • Defamation: publishing (in writing or speaking) false statements that harm another person’s reputation, trade, or profession.
  • Strict liability tort: this kind of tort may occur as a result of happenings like:
    • Railroad engine fires
    • Use of explosives
  • Nuisance: actions that involve mental injury to a person or property damage
  • Tort claims against the Commonwealth

What are the Differences Between Criminal Law and Tort Law in Virginia?

Criminal offenses are different from civil wrongs, and the laws governing both are also different. Virginia instituted criminal laws to protect citizens from harmful acts against society. Criminal law focuses on penalizing the offender to restore order to society, discourage repeat offenses, and discourage others in the society from engaging in illegal acts. On the other hand, tort law protects the victim’s interests by providing an avenue for the victim to claim monetary compensation and, where applicable, other remedies such as restitution.

What is the Purpose of Tort Law in Virginia?

Tort law in Virginia applies to persons who suffer injury, loss, harm, or damage due to another person’s actions or inactions. Tort law ensures that the person who suffers loss or injury receives compensation from the defendant. In determining liability, tort law considers the defendant or actor’s intent, whether such a person deliberately caused harm, or whether the person’s actions were negligent. In some cases, tort law does not consider fault, only liability.

What is a Tort Claim in Virginia?

Tort applies when a person suffers loss or injury due to another person’s actions. A tort claim is a legal notice that the injured party, the plaintiff, brings against the defendant. The state’s Civil Remedies and procedures offer guidelines for filing tort claims, including statutes of limitations, filing processes, and judgment appeal.

How Do You File a Tort Claim in Virginia?

Interested and eligible parties may initiate a tort claim by filing a Notice of Claim. The petitioner may obtain the right form from the Circuit Court Clerk or District Court Clerk in the county where the claim arose or where the defendant lives or conducts business. The Circuit Court hears tort cases between individuals and organizations, while the District Court hears cases of claims filed against the Commonwealth or any state agency. The statute of limitation for filing torts of personal injury, fraud, or property damage in Virginia is two (2) years (Va Code § 8.01–243).. The petitioner may need to pay filing fees.

What Does a Tort Claim Contain in Virginia?

Virginia Tort claims contain:

  • The claimant’s name and address
  • The venue and date of the event and the circumstances of the event
  • A description of the claimant’s loss or injury
  • The estimated claim amount

What Happens after a Tort Claim is Filed in Virginia?

After a petitioner files a tort claim, the petitioner must serve the defendant summons and copies of the claim. After the defendant responds, the case parties or the parties’ attorneys begin the discovery process. During the discovery process, both parties will gather information and witness testimonies. After discovery, the settlement process begins. If case parties do not settle the claim, then the case may go to court, where the judge will make a ruling regarding the claim.

Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Tort Claim?

Tort claim parties may appear in court Pro Se; however, personal injury lawyers may represent tort claim parties in court. Personal injury lawyers are subject matter experts, and therefore offer much-needed guidance to case parties. Personal injury lawyers can help case parties navigate the forms to fill and the best defenses for the claim. Personal injury lawyers help case parties with the discovery process, information gathering, and witness interviews.

How Can I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me?

The Virginia State Bar offers lawyer referral and lawyer search services. Interested parties may contact the state bar for information on how to find local personal injury lawyers. Additionally, interested parties may contact local law firms or conduct online searches for personal injury lawyers.

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