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Business Torts FAQ

Business torts fall under a complex, multi-faceted area of the law. There may be dozens of federal and state statutes involved in any one business tort claim. Breaches of contract, fraud, whistleblowing – these are legal areas that deserve attention from experienced attorneys in Georgia. At Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, we have the resources to help clients through even the most intricate business torts. We hope this FAQ page answers your questions, but if not, give us a call. We’re happy to discuss your individual case in more detail during a free, confidential consultation.

What Qualifies as a Tort?

By definition, a “tort” is any action, behavior, or wrongdoing by one party that harms another. A business tort deals with wrongs in the professional sphere – among companies, contractors, business partners, employees, and customers. A business tort could be a fraud scheme, a crime such as embezzlement, or a misrepresentation of facts. A broad range of wrongdoings fall under the “business tort” umbrella – speak to our attorney to find out if your case has merit.

Is a Tort the Same as a Crime?

The terms “tort” and “crime” are not interchangeable. A tort doesn’t necessarily have to be a crime; it can be a civil wrongdoing such as an act of negligence. However, many business torts are also criminal acts. These include theft, larceny, embezzlement, identity theft, crime rings, discrimination, and harassment. Someone guilty of a business tort may face criminal and civil charges for his/her actions.

Do I Need to Prove Malicious Intent?

Malicious intent is not necessary for a business tort. Mistakes, errors, acts of negligence, and carelessness may all be grounds for a business tort claim. Even “honest mistakes” such as failing to thoroughly read the terms of a contract, does not protect an individual from liability if his/her actions cause harm to others. The courts will have different liability and proof requirements depending on the circumstances of the wrongdoing.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

Your time limit for filing depends on the type of claim. In Georgia, you have two years to file a claim involving fraud, one year for a libel/slander claim, four years for injury to personal property, four years for cases involving oral contracts, and six years for written contracts. The clock starts ticking from the date of the wrongful action, or from the date you discover the action/your harms. Filing whistleblower claims with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration or on behalf of the government comes with separate statutes of limitations. An attorney can help you understand your specific deadlines for filing.

Do I Need an Attorney for My Business Tort Claim?

You typically have the option to self-represent, but this is not a wise decision unless you have significant legal training and education. Business torts can be extremely complex depending on the circumstances. In some torts, such as a claim on behalf of the government, the law requires you to retain an attorney for representation. Consultations with Butler Wooten & Peak LLP are completely free and come at no obligation. You have nothing to lose in discussing your potential claim with one of our caring attorneys.

Is Filing a Claim Worth It?

A case evaluation can give you an accurate estimate of what your claim might be worth. The value of your claim will depend on the amount of your losses. You could recover for financial damages such as loss of income and wages, and additionally receive compensation for non-economic damages such as a harmed reputation. If the actions against you resulted in personal injury, you could recover for your medical costs and associated pain and suffering. The courts may also award punitive damages in business torts involving malice, intent, or gross negligence.

For more answers to your questions, call Butler Wooten & Peak LLP at (800) 242-2962.