Difference Between Tort and Contract

Tort vs Contract
 

The difference between tort and contract is easy to identify if you understand the concept of each clearly. In fact, the terms Tort and Contract are not uncommon or ambiguous terms. Indeed, we have heard their use occasionally and thus have a fair idea as to what they mean. However, in order to understand the difference between tort and contract, we must first pay attention to the definitions of each term separately.

What is Tort?

The concept of Tort is an important subject in civil law. Indeed, civil courts hear and determine many cases involving Torts. The term Tort is derived from the Latin word ‘Tortus,’ which is translated to mean “wrong” or “civil wrong.” It is similar to the concept of a crime in that it involves some form of wrongdoing inflicted on another person. However, unlike a crime, a Tort is more personal. Thus, while a crime constitutes a wrongful act caused not only to a person but to the entire society as a whole, a Tort constitutes a wrongful act caused only to a person. It is thus a private wrong. Torts typically encompass wrongful acts in the form of harm or injury caused to a person or their property. The party that has suffered harm or injury will file a civil action in court against the person who inflicted the harm. If the court finds that a Tort has been committed, the court will typically order the defendant to pay compensation or provide other relief to the injured party. This compensation is generally known as the remedy of Damages.

Examples of Torts include occupier’s liability, nuisance, economic Torts, negligence, defamation, or product liability. The Tort of negligence revolves around the concept of the duty of care owed by one person to another. Failure to exercise this duty of care to another in certain situations will result in the Tort of negligence. An example of such an instance is when a person drives recklessly and causes harm to a pedestrian. Torts are categorized into Intentional Torts (a person had substantial knowledge that his/her actions would result in harm), Strict Liability Torts (Torts which focus only on the physical aspect of the wrongful act), and Negligent Torts. When a person commits a Tort, the court will not look at the Tort but at the harm or injury suffered by the victim as a result of that Tort. Keep in mind that breach of contract does not fall within the definition of a Tort.

Difference Between Tort and Contract

A tort is a wrong that is personal in nature

What is Contract?

A Contract is a familiar concept to all of us. In simple terms, it refers to an agreement between two or more parties, which is enforceable by law. Formally, however, it is defined as an agreement between two or more parties, who intend to create legal obligations, to perform some work or service. Contracts may be oral or written, although today it is most often in written form. The defining feature of a Contract is that it is not just an agreement to perform some work or service, but that work or service is typically performed in return for a valuable consideration. Thus, consideration is a vital element in a Contract. Consideration is usually in the form of a payment. In addition to Consideration, a Contract must typically contain several other elements in order to be valid and recognised as a Contract in law. Thus, there must be an offer and an acceptance of that offer, the parties must have capacity to contract, and the subject matter of the Contract must be legal. Contracts may take various forms such as Unilateral Contracts or Bilateral Contracts. Like in the case of a Tort, a breach of one or more of the terms of the Contract or the entire Contract itself may result in the remedy of Damages been awarded.

 Tort vs Contract

Contract is a agreement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law

What is the difference between Tort and Contract?

Thus the difference between Tort and Contract is simple: a Tort constitutes a civil wrong while a Contract refers to an agreement between two or more parties.

• Definition of Tort and Contract:

• A Tort refers to a civil wrong. It is a private wrong in that it constitutes a wrongful act in the form of a harm or injury caused to a person or their property. Torts are categorized into Intentional Torts, Strict Liability Torts, and Negligent Torts.

• A Contract refers to an oral or written agreement between two or more parties, who intend to create legal obligations, to perform some work or service in return for a valuable consideration, which is usually in the form of a payment.

• Concept of Tort and Contract:

• When a person commits a Tort, the court will not look at the Tort but at the harm or injury suffered by the victim as a result of that Tort. The court will typically order the defendant to pay compensation or provide other relief to the injured party.

• A Contract has an offer and an acceptance of that offer and the parties involved must have capacity to contract. A breach of Contract by either party may result in awarding the remedy of Damages.

• Examples of Tort and Contract:

• Examples of Torts include occupier’s liability, nuisance, economic Torts, negligence, defamation or product liability.

• An example of a Contract is an agreement between Company A to provide a security service to Company B in return for a valuable consideration paid by Company B to Company A.

 

Images Courtesy:

  1. Accident by Gangulybiswarup (CC BY 3.0)
  2. Agreement via Pixabay (Public Domain)