INJURY, civil law, In the technical sense of the term it is a delict committed in contempt, or outrage of any one, whereby his body, his dignity, or his reputation, is. maliciously injured. Voet, Com. ad Pand. lib. 47, t. 10, n. 1.
2. Injuries may be divided into two classes, With reference to the means used by the wrong doer, namely, by words and by acts. The first are called verbal injuries, the latter real.
3. A verbal injury, when directed against a private person, consists in the uttering contumelious words, which tend to expose his character, by making him little or ridiculous. Where the offensive words are uttered in the beat of a dispute, and spoken to the person's face, the law does not presume any malicious intention in the utterer, whose resentment generally subsides with his passion;, and yet, even in that case, the truth of the injurious words seldom absolves entirely from punishment. Where the injurious expressions have a tendency to blacken one's moral character, or fix some particular guilt upon him, and are deliberately repeated in different companies, or banded about in whispers to confidants, it then grows up to the crime of slander, agreeably to the distinction of the Roman law, 1. 15, 12, de injur.
4. A reat injury is inflicted by any fact by which a person's honor or dignity is affected; as striking one with a cane, or even aiming a blow without striking; spitting in one's face; assuming a coat of arms, or any other mark of distinction proper to another, &c. The composing and publish in defamatory libels maybe reckoned of this kind. Ersk. Pr. L. Scot. 4, 4, 45.
INJURY. A wrong or tort. Injuries are divided into public and private; and they affect the. person, personal property, or real property.
3. - 1. They affect the person absolutely or relatively. The absolute injuries are, threats and menaces, assaults, batteries, wounding, mayhems; injuries to health, by nuisances or medical malpractices. Those affecting reputation are, verbal slander, libels, and malicious prosecutions; and those affecting personal liberty are, false imprisonment and malicious prosecutions. The relative injuries are those which affect the rights of a hushand; these are, abduction of the wife, or harboring her, adultery and battery those which affect the rights of a parent, as, abduction, seduction, or battery of a child; and of a master, seduction, harboring and battery of his apprentice or servant. Those which conflict with the rights of the inferior relation, namely, the wife, child, apprentice, or servant, are, withholding conjugal rights, maintenance, wages, &c.
4. - 2. Injuries to personal property, are, the unlawful taking and detention thereof from the owner; and other injuries are, some damage affecting the same while in the claimant's possession, or that of a third person, or injuries to his reversionary interests.
5. - 3. Injuries to real property are, ousters, trespasses nuisances, waste, subtraction of rent, disturbance of right of way, and the like.
6. Injuries arise in three ways. 1. By nonfeasance, or the not doing what was a legal obligation, or. duty, or contract, to perform. 2. Misfeasance, or the performance, in an improper manner, of an act which it was either the party's duty, or his contract, to perform. 3. Malfeasance, or the unjust performance of some act which the party had no right, or which he had contracted not to do.
7. The remedies are different, as the injury affects private individuals, or the public. 1. When the injuries affect a private right and a private individual, although often also affecting the public, there are three descriptions of remedies: 1st. The preveative, such as defence, resistance, recaption, abatement of nuisance, surety of the peace, injunction, &c. 2d. Remedies for compensation, which may be by arbitration, suit, action, or summary proceedings before a justice of the peace. 3d. Proceedings for punishment, as by indictment, or summary Proceedings before a justice. 2. When the injury is such as to affect the public, it becomes a crime, misdemeanor, or offence, and the party may be punished by indictment or summary conviction, for the public injury; and by civil action at the suit of the party, for the private wrong. But in cases of felony, the remedy by action for the private injury is generally suspendid until the party particularly injured has fulfilled his duty to the public by prosecuting the offender for the public crime; and in cases of homicide the remedy is merged in the felony. 1 Chit. Pr. 10; Ayl. Pand. 592. See 1 Miles' Rep. 316, 17; and article Civil Remedy.
8. There are many injuries for which the law affords no remedy. In general, it interferes only when there has been a visible bodily injury inflicted by force or poison, while it leaves almost totally unprotected the whole class of the most malignant mental injuries and sufferings unless in a few cases, where, by descending to a fiction, it sordidly supposes some pecuniary loss, and sometimes, under a mask, and contrary to its own legal principles, affords compensation to wounded feelings. A parent, for example, cannot sue, in that character, for an injury inflicted on his child and when his own domestic happiness has been destroyed, unless the fact will sustain the allegation that the daughter was the servant of her father, and that, by, reason of such seduction, he lost the benefit of her services. Another instance may be mentioned: A party cannot recover damages for verbal slander in many cases; as, when the facts published are true, for the defendant would justify and the party injured must fail. A case of this kind, remarkably bard, occurred in England. A young nobleman had seduced a young woman, who, after living with him some time, became sensible of the impropriety of her conduct. She left him secretly, and removed to an obscure place in the kingdom, where she obtained a situation, and became highly respected in consequence of her good conduct she was even promoted to a better and more public employment when she was unfortunately discovered by her seducer. He made proposals to her to renew their illicit intercourse, which were rejected; in order to, force her to accept them, he published the history of her early life, and she was discharged from her employment, and lost the good opinion of those on whom she depended for her livelihood. For this outrage the culprit could not be made answerable, civilly or criminally. Nor will the law punish criminally the author of verbal slander, imputing even the most infamous crimes, unless done with intent to extort a chattel, money, or valuable thing. The law presume, perhaps unnaturally enough, that a man is incapable of being alarmed or affected by such injuries to his feelings. Vide 1 Chit. Med. Jur. 320. See, generally, Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t.