Tort claims are civil actions that seek a damages award to compensate for a civil wrong, other than a breach of contract. They are typically personal injury actions involving a physical injury or death or injury to reputation.
A tort refers to a breach of duty that’s imposed by law whereby some person acquires a right of action for damages.
Serious and Catastrophic Personal Injuries
Injuries that are fatal or that result in significant, lasting, psyco-emotional and/or physical impairments. These may generally include severe brain injury, spine or spinal cord injury, and skull or spinal column injury. It may also include such impairments as paraplegia and quadriplegia, permanent loss in the ability to walk, blindness or loss of vision, traumatic brain injury, psychiatric impairment, chronic pain, etc.
Defamation (Libel and Slander)
The publication of anything that is injurious to the good name or reputation of another or tends to bring him or her into disrepute by exposing that person to public scorn, hatred, contempt or ridicule. An oral or spoken defamation is a slander. A libel is defamation in a printed or permanent form (e.g., printing, writing, signs or pictures).
Slip and Fall Accidents
In these cases, the claimant slips and falls and suffers injuries as a result of the negligence of another person (or combination of persons), including a property owner, property manager, contractor, landlord, etc.
Dog Bites and Attacks
Cases in Ontario involving a dog bite and/or attack are governed by the Dog Owners’ Liability Act and may also involve various negligence claims. A person who possesses or harbours the dog may be responsible for the damages resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on another person or domestic animal.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
A personal injury claim involving a motor vehicle accident entails various modes of potential compensation for those claimants (and their family members) injured or killed in the accident. Depending on the circumstances, claims can be advanced under the statutory accident benefits regime and/or by way of a tort claim. In some situations, a claim can be made to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.
These claims involve injuries that occur in direct connection with the use of navigable waters in Canada, which includes the ocean, lakes, rivers, creeks and ponds. A marine accident claim would include injuries sustained on a vessel (or adjacent to the vessel if caused by the vessel) while it is navigating (running or docking). There must be a nexus between the mechanism of the injury and the activity of navigation and/or shipping.
Professional Negligence Claims
Just like every other negligence claim, the plaintiff must establish the same elements: that a duty of care was owed, that the standard of care was breached, that the plaintiff suffered damages, and that damages were caused by that professional’s negligence. When a professional is sued for negligence, the standard of care of that professional is oftentimes a highly technical matter and may require expert analysis.
Product Liability Claims
These types of claims involve a concept in the law of torts regarding the circumstances in which a manufacturer who designs and puts a product on the market is liable to the ultimate consumer to ensure that the goods so marketed are free from defects arising from negligence or lack of care on the part of that manufacturer.
Privacy tort claims involve a breach of a person’s privacy interests. These claims are founded in the common law as well as (in some circumstances) various provincial and federal legislation. Under common law, privacy torts are categorized as Intrusion Upon Seclusion, Wrongful Appropriation of Personality (Appropriation of Name or Likeness), Publication (or Public Disclosure) of Private Facts, and False Light in the Public Eye.
Charter damages are a unique public and constitutional law remedy for breaches of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Charter damages are different from private law damages (i.e. tort damages or breach of contract damages) and from equitable remedies. As the Charter only applies to government actors, Charter damages are only available against those actors whose activities properly attract Charter scrutiny.