Tort Law–Substance and Procedure
Apart from legislation granting a right to sue for a specific harm, personal injury law generally consists of tort law and the civil procedure for enforcing it. Law is sometimes divided into substantive law and procedural law. This article discusses the distinction between substantive law and procedural law as it relates to tort law and personal injury.
Substantive law is that part of the law that sets out the various rights and duties of each person or organization. Rights are, generally, those things to which a person or organization is entitled. Duties are, generally, those things that a person or organization is required to do or not do.
Constitutional Law, for example, is a type of substantive lawyi with rights and duties. People generally have a right to free speech, but they also have some duties with regard to free speech. For example, people have a duty to not falsely shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater.
Besides tort law, there are five other kinds of substantive law. First, there is the law that generally organizes the government and sets out the relationship between each person and the government, known as constitutional law. Second, there is the law that generally provides protection to the government and each person from those who would intentionally harm that society, known as criminal law. Third, there is the law that generally provides for the specific status of each person in that society, known as family law. Fourth, there is the law that generally provides the status of ownership on certain things in that society, known as property law. Fifth, there is the law that generally provides for the enforceability of certain agreements, known as contract law.
The sixth kind of substantive law, tort law, is the “catch all” type of law. Tort law is the law that generally provides protection to each person from harm not intended to harm society as a whole.
It is fairly obvious that all the substantive law in the world will not help you, anyone, or any organization if and when it is not obeyed. When it is not obeyed, there must be a way to enforce the rights and duties that the various kinds of substantive law provide. There is. Procedural law is the law that generally provides the ways and means of enforcing the rights and duties that the various kinds of substantive law provide. There is a special procedure for enforcing criminal law, known as criminal procedure. The procedure that applies to all other kinds of substantive law, including tort law, is known as civil procedure.
What Your Personal Injury Lawyer Does
Your personal injury lawyer provides you with two kinds of service. First, your personal injury lawyer advises you as to your rights and duties under the substantive law, especially tort law. Second, your personal injury lawyer guides your case through the procedure for enforcing tort law: civil procedure.