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What Is a Tort Claim?


Relief is available for those who suffer serious injuries and financial losses in preventable accidents. The civil justice system in Canada exists to compensate accident victims for their losses and make them whole again, as if the accident never took place. The name for this type of civil claim filed in pursuit of financial compensation is a personal injury lawsuit – also known as a tort claim in Ontario.

What Is a Tort? 

“Tort” is derived from the Latin word, “tortum,” which means “something twisted, wrung or crooked.” In a legal sense, a tort refers to a wrongful act or omission. It describes something that a prudent person would not do under the same or similar circumstances; an act of negligence, carelessness, recklessness or maliciousness. A tort can be intentional or unintentional. Even without intent to harm someone, an individual or entity could face a civil lawsuit for a tort that results in personal injury.

Elements of a Tort Claim

A tort claim seeks to hold a negligent or at-fault party accountable for the injuries and losses associated with the wrongful act allegedly committed. The at-fault party becomes the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit, while the injured person is the plaintiff. To hold a defendant liable (financially responsible) for an accident in Ontario, the plaintiff must prove the following four elements as more likely to be true than not true:

  1. Duty. The defendant had an obligation to act with reasonable care to prevent injury or harm.
  2. Breach. The defendant failed to exercise reasonable care.
  3. Causation. The defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused the plaintiff to be injured.
  4. Damages. The accident resulted in compensable damages suffered by the plaintiff.

If a tort claim succeeds, the plaintiff can be awarded financial compensation for several related losses, including medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Tort claims can be filed in Ontario after many different types of negligence-related accidents: vehicle collisions, slip and fall accidents, dog attacks, and many more. To find out if you have grounds for a tort claim, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Ottawa.

How to File a Tort Claim in Ontario

If you have recently suffered an injury and believe that someone else is civilly liable for committing an intentional or unintentional tort against you, take the following steps to prepare your tort and file it with the correct courts in Ottawa, Ontario:

  1. Report the accident. Reporting your accident can create a record of it happening. Call 911 to reach the police if it is an emergency, or else report the accident to a property owner, your employer or another person of authority.
  2. Collect information. The more you learn about your accident, the stronger you can make your tort claim. Write down the names of all parties involved, the date and location of the accident, a description of what happened, and any other important details.
  3. Take pictures. Before you leave the scene of the accident, take pictures of relevant details, such as a property defect, road hazard, property damage or defective product. Look around to see if there are surveillance cameras that may have caught your accident on tape.
  4. Contact a lawyer in Ottawa. Before you proceed with an insurance claim or lawsuit, consult with a lawyer near you for advice. A lawyer can help you successfully bring a claim against one or more responsible parties.
  5. File your tort claim. With assistance from a lawyer, you can fill out and file the required paperwork to initiate your tort claim in Ottawa. Your lawyer will help you file your claim with the correct civil courthouse in your region by the deadline.

A tort claim could be the answer to obtaining the justice, accountability and financial compensation that you need to move on from a recent accident. For more information about filing a tort claim in Ottawa, contact SG Injury Law to request a free consultation with a lawyer.