Read this introductory material for Chapter 7. A tort is a civil wrong other than a breach of contract. Torts are distinguishable from contract and criminal law in how duty is created. With respect to torts, civil law creates duties that govern conduct. Under contract law, the parties determine what duties are owed. Criminal law governs conduct by prohibiting certain types of behaviors. As you read this section, note the overlap between torts and contracts as well as the overlap of torts and criminal law. Tort law is a way for an injured party to seek compensation for harm caused by another. If the state follows pure comparative negligence, a plaintiff's recovery will be reduced in proportion to her or her degree of fault. Even if the plaintiff is found to be at greater fault than the defendant, plaintiff will still be allowed to recover damages.

If the state follows a modified comparative negligence rule, a plaintiff will not recover any damages, if the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault.