The Webster dictionary defines tort as an action which causes harm to other people (Fleming, 1992). It can also be termed as a civil wrong caused when individuals indulge themselves in unreasonable actions. Tort claims are based on the belief that people should always take responsibility of their actions, especially, when such actions cause injuries to other people.
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The tort laws are divided into two categories which are known as intentional and negligent torts. Just as the name suggests, intentional torts are actions imposed on specific kinds of offences committed with the offender’s full knowledge of the expected outcome.
This kind of tort is proven if a person commits it with very clear knowledge of the outcome of the actions (Hill, 1991). Examples of two common types of intentional torts include assault which is an intentional attempt to hurt a person by inflicting fear and battery which are the acts of hurting a person physically.
On the other hand, tort of negligence refers to all the actions that violate the expected standards of duty and care without intentions of doing so. A claimant is required to prove four main elements when reporting negligence tort. One is supposed to prove on the duty to protect the actual injury, breach of duty and the proximate cause (Mallor, 2010).
Every individual in the society is required by law to take responsibility of caring for all the people, hence every person is liable to duty to protect.
This, therefore, means that people are required by the law to do things perfectly, always avoiding all the forms of negligence and recklessness that can cause harm to other members of the society. For instance, all the doctors are entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of their patients by prescribing appropriate medications as well as providing them with the right treatment (Stein, 2002).
An individual is liable to breach of duty in instances where one fails to exercise reasonable standards of care when attending to other people. This can happen intentionally or unintentionally through exposing other people to dangerous situations which pose threats and consequently result to some sort of damages (Fleming, 1992). This concept can be imposed implicitly or expressly.
For instance, if individuals enter into a given contract, the terms and conditions of the contract are likely to impose certain duties and rights on all the contract parties. In cases where one party fails to honor the terms and conditions of the contract, it is liable to breach of duty to the other ones (Peck, 1990).
The law, however, expects individuals engaged in particular relationships, such as family relationships, to take the duty of responsibility. For instance, the law places high standards of care on parents with the responsibility of taking care of their children, hence a stranger may never be liable breach of duty as a result of child neglect.
Actual injury element is based on the principle highlighted by the fact that breach of duty eventually causes injury or loss to the affected individuals. Therefore, when imposing neglect tort, the claimant must always produce evidence of injury since lack of the evidence justifies the defendants against committing any form of tort. Damage of property and emotional stress are addressed under this element of negligent tort (Stein,2002).
Lastly, the factual or legal causation which is also known as the proximate cause states that there is a link between injuries resulted and breach of duty. If there is no link between the two, this element states that no monetary compensation is awarded to the complainant. Sometimes, the defendant may have legal causation or no factual causation for injury caused.
Fleming, J.G. (1992). The law of torts. Washington, DC: Law Book Co.
Hill, T.F.(1991). A Lost Chance for Compensation in the Tort of Negligence by the House of Lords. The Modern Law Review, 54, 511-523.
Mallor, J.B., Barnes, A.L.,Bowers, T. K.,& Langvardt, A. M. (2010). Business law: The ethical, global and e-commerce environment. (14th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill/Irwin.
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Peck, C.J. (1990). Negligence and Liability Without Fault in Tort Law. Wash. L. Rev, 46(62), 225-236.
Stein, M.A. (2002). Priestley v. Fowler (1837) and the emerging tort of negligence. BCL Rev, 44, 698-790.