The Distinction Between Criminal, Tort, and Moral Wrongs
In some cases of imminent danger injunctive relief could be appropriate as well, although the issue of prospective relief injects a mass of complications to which I shall briefly refer later.
Rather, he would be one of several witnesses for the state in the case against her in court. Tort cases are heard in civil proceedings. The legal process is quite different from criminal proceedings. The civil process provides a legal means for victims of harmful acts to be compensated for the harm done to them. Event 2 is a tort. Mrs. Frayle has been injured by Steve's act. In order to recover money for the harm or damage she has suffered, the civil process requires that Mrs. Frayle sue Steve. Furthermore, she must bear the cost in terms of time, energy, and money for doing so.
A victim's consent is neither necessary nor sufficient for a prosecution to be brought. In tort law, by contrast, the victim decides whether to bring a tort claim and is free to choose not to do so. Criminal law often imposes much more severe sanctions than tort law, of course: loss of liberty or even of life. So the procedural protections in criminal law obviously are much more extensive and (in theory at least) a much greater barrier to liability (John C.P. Goldberg & Benjamin C. Zipursky, 2005). For example, the criminal defendant, unlike the tort defendant, must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the exclusionary rule sometimes applies, and the double-jeopardy rule precludes the same jurisdiction from pursuing multiple convictions for the same conduct.
David J. Seipp, The Distinction Between Crime and Tort in the Early Common Law, 76 B.U. L. REV. 59, 59 (1996).
John C.P. Goldberg & Benjamin C. Zipursky, Accidents of the Great Society, 64 MD. L. REV. 364, 402-03 (2005)
Benjamin C. Zipursky, Civil Recourse, Not Corrective Justice, 91 GEO. L.J. 695 (2003)