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Tort as used in common law is a civil wrong. It is a law that allows an individual who has suffered harm or loss to be compensated. The harm or loses may have been caused by another person’s behavior. For instance, in a case where a person suffers legal injuries, he or she is entitled to compensation from those who caused the injury.
In this paper the focus is on negligent tort. Negligent tort focuses on the “failure to use that degree of care required under the circumstances to prevent harm to others” (Deakin et al., 2008, p. 23). Ideally it involves two major issues nonfeasance and malfeasance. The principle here is everyone who owes others a duty should act in a manner that will not cause harm.
Elements of a negligent tort
There is a formula that should be used when evaluating harm or injury as a result of negligence.
The complainant must prove to the court beyond any reasonable doubt that the following occurred; that the defendant has a duty to the plaintiff, the general public, employees including the complainant, he or she must show that the defendant did not uphold his duty diligently, the harm or injury incurred is due to the failure of the defendant to uphold his or her duty and the harm suffered was indeed realistically predictable outcome of the defendant action or inaction.
A typical example include the following scenario; a construction company fails to provide workers with personal protective equipment while the employer clearly knows that it is dangerous for employees to work when constructing buildings without such equipment as helmets, gloves among others.
If employees get hurt during the process, the employer will be taken to task to compensate his employees since the harm was reasonably foreseeable (Mallor et al, 2010).
Types of negligence
There are various types of negligence and associated principles. Gross negligence is where an act or inaction by a party is reckless that clearly shows that there is lack of concern for whether harm will occur or not. Comparative negligence is a situation whereby the compensation awarded to a plaintiff is proportional to his or her own fault for the injuries (Mallor et al., 2010).
For instance if it is established a plaintiff is to be awarded $200,000 and it is found that he is 40.0% at fault, then he will be awarded $160,000 against the defendant.
There are instances where the plaintiff is responsible for his or her injuries. This has been termed as contributory negligence for instance when one is drug and crosses the road carelessly causing an accident. He or she is not allowed to seek for compensation from the defendant.
The courts provide several remedies including compensatory money damages, punitive money damages and injunction. For the later, it entails a situation where a court order requires that a defendant refrains from committing tort.
It is worth noting that an injunction cannot be granted in case damages would be an appropriate measure. For damages, the court may order the defendant to pay the plaintiff money to cater for loss of earning as a result of the injury, meet medical expenses, pay for actual loss, pay for prospective loss among other. This is only done if the plaintiff meets the four elements of negligence tort (Deakin et al., 2008).
The essay has critically examined the concept of negligence tort. Among issues addressed include elements of tort and remedies for tort.
Deakin, K., Johnston, M. & Markesinis, L. (2008). Markesinis & Deakin’s Tort Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mallor, P., Barnes, J., Bowers, T. & Langvardt, A. (2010). Business Law: The ethical, global, and ecommerce environment. (14th ed.). New York: Irwin/McGraw Hill.