Tort law deals with serious harms one person or group causes another, whether intentional or not. While these could include criminal acts, tort law generally reflects more personal harm. The courts in tort cases seek to compensate injured parties for the harm they have suffered. Courts typically award money as compensation, but they also may order a defendant to refrain from, or perform an action to compensate the injured party. Courts can also award additional punitive damages aimed at punishing the wrongdoer; in such cases plaintiffs can receive monetary awards significantly higher than their compensatory awards.Courts primarily apply common law in tort cases, which is embodied in the numerous court decisions over the years. These written opinions represent the existing legal precedent that guides judges when deciding future cases. In recent years, legislatures have codified significant portions of tort law by enacting statutes to guide judgesMany animal rights lawyers are seeking higher damage awards in the form of non-economic damages for animals. They are attempting to change both (1) the common law by filing lawsuits in the courts, and (2) statutory law by lobbying state legislatures to approve new bills expanding this area of the law.This section of the website focuses on some of the key tort issues in animal law.