When you find yourself in legal trouble or the victim of negligence, you’ll need to contact a Hattiesburg personal injury attorney to represent you and protect your rights. One of the stranger issues that pop up when people contact attorneys for assistance is that they believe that they are the victim of a crime. In some cases they’re right; in others, they’re actually not the victim of crimes, but rather torts.

Torts aren’t crimes even though harm and damage are often results of negligent acts. However, in some cases, a negligent act may be both a crime and a tort, making things even more confusing. In an effort to help you understand the difference, we’ve laid out a simple guide to the difference between a tort and a crime.

What is a crime?

A crime is an act, whether intentional or not, that breaks common law and often harm society, rather than a single individual. In fact, there are five (5) categories of crimes:

  • Violent crime, including homicide, assault, and robbery
  • Property crime, including burglary, larceny, and arson
  • White collar crime, including fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering
  • Organized crime, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, and illegal gambling
  • And victimless crime, including drug use, smuggling, and trespassing.

A crime is set apart from a tort because the punishment for a crime is normally a fine to the city, state, or federal government and also possible prison time for rehabilitation and reeducation.

What is a tort?

Torts are essentially injuries or damages incurred by the victim as a result of another individual’s negligence; the victim can then sue for compensation with the assistance of a Hattiesburg personal injury attorney. There are three (3) types of torts:

  • Negligence, including car accidents, medical malpractice, and trucking accidents
  • Intentional torts, including assault (leading to confusion between torts and crimes), battery, and fraud (in regards to another party)
  • And strict liability, such as defective products.

Crimes typically affect and offend society while torts harm, injure, or damage a person. As we mentioned, there are cases where an act can be both a crime and a tort, such as assault and battery. The perpetrator can be tried for the crime, but the victim can also seek damages.

If this sounds confusing, don’t worry — it often is. That’s why we’re here to help you as your Hattiesburg personal injury attorney to protect your rights and earn you the compensation you may be entitled to. Contact our offices to speak with a Mississippi lawyer today regarding your case.