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Contract vs. Tort Law in the United States

In modern society, there are several different legal concepts applicable to various situations. This essay will analyze tort law and contract law and their similarities and differences. To begin with, it is necessary to define both concepts. A tort is an offense that causes damage to society, the state, or a person. Such an offense is a ground for holding the offender liable under the law. Tort law provides remedies for acts that cause physical injury or threaten personal safety and liberty, privacy, reputation, dignity, family relations, and property damage (Terence & Johnson, 2011). The scope of application of the rules of tort law is extensive: tort law deals with cases where the actions of one person cause damage to another person.

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Now it is necessary to discuss the contract law. It examines the functioning of various types of contracts in civil law, looking at the system of social relations that refer to contracts in civil law and analyzing the principles of contractual relations. The system of contract law is divided into two main parts: the general part and the special part. The general part includes legal norms that define the concept and characteristics of a contract, its structure and the order of its conclusion, issues of amendment and termination of contracts, and their classification. The special part contains group legal norms united between each other based on the subject and the essence of a particular type of contract. In particular, here are considered the norms regulating the transfer of property and funds, and the regulation of exclusive rights in ownership.

The correlation between tort and contractual liability is essential not only to determine the scope of each of them but also to clarify the content and features of both types of civil law liability. Contractual and non-contractual liability has several common elements. Their similarity is based on the fact that through the establishment of both liabilities, the common task of protecting citizens’ and legal persons’ rights is to ensure law and order in society are being tackled. The similarity is manifested in the principles common to these kinds of liability, in some cases in the same legal regulation of relations. At the same time, non-contractual liability has certain peculiarities. The differences between contractual and non-contractual liability are based on social and economic factors. Contractual liability is designed to ensure the ordinary course of production and exchange, and to encourage accuracy and clarity in law regulation. The tort penalty is aimed at creating an economic equilibrium in cases of violation of the personal rights of citizens and legal entities.

The different socio-economic conditionality of contractual and non-contractual liability also determines the differences in the legal facts giving rise to these types of harm. Contractual liability is based on a relative legal relationship that exists between the debtor and the creditor. In contrast, non-contractual liability is not preceded by an obligation of a particular person. Instead, it is based on an unauthorized act infringing upon absolute rights: the life and health of citizens and the property right. This is why tort liability is imposed on any person. In contrast, contractual liability is charged only to a party to the contract. The objectives of each of these types of liability also determine the nature of the legal rules established for the respective cases.


Terence, L., & Johnson, L. (2011). The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business. Saylor Academy.

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