Civil Tort – Single Incident
A tort is an act or omission committed against someone that violates a protected right and causes legally recognizable harm. Tort law imposes civil liability for negligent or reckless conduct and helps the party that’s been harmed to recover some or all of the costs of their injuries, whether those injuries are physical, emotional, or financial.
The ability to obtain civil remedies from someone that causes injury to another person or their property is a fundamental aspect of the United States justice system. But that system is threatened by rising litigation costs and powerful insurance company interests that can afford to outspend average Americans.
Milberg’s Civil Tort Practice Group attorneys are committed to upholding the rights of the injured by offering contingency-fee personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death litigation.
Focus Areas of Milberg’s Civil Tort Practice Group
Choosing a law firm after a slip and fall, motor vehicle crash, animal attack, medical incident, or other unexpected injury has far-reaching consequences. Milberg’s Personal Injury Practice Group has recovered over $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for our injury clients and handles every case on a contingency-fee basis.
Milberg’s Medical Malpractice Practice Group consists of highly skilled and experienced attorneys with over 50 years of combined experience. Our attorneys specialize in litigating high-value, complex medical malpractice cases and have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and jury verdicts.
Wrongful death from medical malpractice occurs when a patient dies as a result of negligence, errors, or omissions by healthcare professionals or medical institutions. Milberg’s Wrongful Death Practice Group attorneys help surviving family members or representatives of the deceased pursue civil legal action against the responsible party.
Elements of a Tort Claim
While some torts are intentional, many fall into the category of unintentional. The most common type of tort allegation is that someone acted unreasonably unsafe (negligently). Negligence is raised in personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death lawsuits.
To recover compensation for a negligence tort, the person making the claim must fulfill four elements: duty, breach of duty, damages/injury, and causation.
- Duty refers to the legal obligations we owe each other. These duties vary depending on the circumstances. For example, drivers have a duty to other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists to not injure them. Doctors owe their patients a duty to follow standards of care that prevail in the medical profession.
- Breach of duty means that a duty was owed, but it was not upheld. If a driver acts carelessly by not following the rules of the road, or a doctor delivers substandard care, they may have breached the duty they owed.
- Injury, and thus damages, must have occurred for there to be an actionable negligence tort claim. If no demonstrable injury has been suffered, the plaintiff cannot claim any damages, which undermines the purpose of the lawsuit.
- Causation is the connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injury. The plaintiff must show that, if it wasn’t for the defendant’s breach of duty, they would not have been injured.
Most successful tort cases result in the court awarding compensatory damages to the plaintiff. Typically, these damages are equal to the monetary value of the plaintiff’s losses, both those already incurred and those that are expected. Compensatory damages cover things like:
- Loss of earnings and loss of future earning capacity
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Medical costs
In some cases, the court additionally awards punitive damages that are intended to punish the defendant for particularly egregious conduct.
Damages must be proven, and some states have damage caps. Attorneys work with experts to calculate damages, including the amount of lost earning capacity and their expected ongoing medical bills.
Tort Costs and Contingency Fee Litigation
Anyone injured by somebody else’s negligence has the right to file a tort claim and seek monetary damages. But their legal rights can be limited by economic realities.
When a plaintiff makes a tort claim against an individual or business, they’re really taking on the defendant’s insurance company. While each party pays their own litigation fees, most insurers are required to pay a policyholder’s legal costs and any compensation they end up owing. Insurance companies are among the largest companies in the world, with vast resources that can skew case outcomes.
Tort costs are steadily rising. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the costs of torts rose from $350 billion in 2016 to $443 billion in 2020, averaging annual growth of 6% per year. Tort costs in 2020 averaged $3,621 per household and amounted to 2.1% of U.S. GDP.
High legal system costs threaten the principles of due process and equal justice under the law. They contribute to the “Justice Gap”—the gap that exists between Americans’ civil legal needs and their financial ability to meet those needs.
Amid rising litigation costs, many Americans are unable to afford legal representation, even when they have an actionable claim. By one estimate, more than 80% of Americans who need legal help can’t get it because it’s too expensive.
Milberg attorneys believe that everyone who has been injured deserves a good attorney. That’s why we handle personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis.
Contingency fee litigation, an arrangement where a lawyer only gets paid for their legal services if they recover money for their client, eliminates the high hourly fees that drive the ever-widening gap in justice.
When you hire Milberg for your injury case, you benefit from the experience and resources of a global plaintiff’s firm but pay no upfront legal fees—and no fees at all unless we recover money for you.
Contingency fee injury litigation is one more way that Milberg—the firm that pioneered a new era of corporate accountability—helps clients enforce their rights against insurance companies, hospitals, and other powerful entities.
Wrongful DeathRelying on experience and a compassionate, client-centered approach to help dependents navigate the challenges of litigating on behalf of the deceased.
Personal InjuryAdvocating for victims injured after a slip and fall, motor vehicle crash, animal attack, medical incident, or other unexpected injury.
Medical MalpracticeSpecializing in high-value, complex medical malpractice litigation.