Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary

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An injury to one person for which the person who caused the injury is legally responsible. A tort can be intentional -- for example, an angry punch in the nose -- but is far more likely to result from carelessness (called "negligence"), such as riding your bicycle on the sidewalk and colliding with a pedestrian. While the injury that forms the basis of a tort is usually physical, this is not a requirement -- libel, slander, and the "intentional infliction of mental distress" are on a good-sized list of torts not based on a physical injury. A tort is a civil wrong, as opposed to a criminal wrong. Compare: crime