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Chapter 18 Torts.

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1 Chapter 18 Torts

2 Torts are part of civil law.
The primary purpose of civil law is to protect individuals not punish. It is through the punishment that people or business must mind their behavior and ensure public safety and civic responsibility. A tort is when someone commits a wrong that is part of civil law or will be punished by civil action and not by the state or government (law suit). These are wrongs against individuals. Tort law encourages people to act responsibly by awarding money (damages) to victims.

3 90% of Tort cases are settled without going to trial.

4 The Plaintiff in a civil lawsuit is the person who was harmed and starts the legal action.
The defendant in a civil lawsuit is the person who is accused of the wrong. The judgment is the decision which awards damages to the plaintiff for injuries.

5 What are injuries? Do they have to be physical?

6 Liability Tort law deals with 2 basic questions:
1) Who is responsible or liable? 2) How much should the person who has been found liable have to pay in damages?

7 A tort occurs when one person causes injury to another person’s property or reputation.
Tort law provides the injured party with a Remedy or way to make up for the harm done. This remedy is said to Compensate the victim for what was lost or the harm that was done.

8 Tort law requires us to act in certain ways to avoid harming others
Tort law requires us to act in certain ways to avoid harming others. We must act with reasonable care toward people and their property. The compensation is intended to prevent future injuries or to ensure the reasonable behavior of others.

9 Tort law forces the liable party to pay for tangible injury such as damage to a car or your body as well as less tangible costs such as emotional pain or damage to your reputation.

10 Look at page 214

11 Settlement Two parties can agree to a settlement.
A settlement is an agreement on the type or amount of compensation that one party will give to the other. When a settlement cannot be reached, one party may sue the other.

12 Where did Tort Law come from?
Common Law is made by judges through their decisions which become precedents. Statutes are written laws. “If a person is found guilty of _________ then they must_____.”

13 Tort law tries to balance usefulness and harm.
For example, some drugs may harm some people. These same drugs may benefit many more people.

14 When should a drug company have to pay damages to the one individual who is harmed by their product?
How can companies be protected so that they try to bring new drugs to market?

15 Tort law protects individual choice
Tort law protects individual choice. Cigarettes are legal to use even though they are a harmful product. Because the product carries a warning label, the user then assumes the responsibility for any harm that befalls them from using that product.

16 Types of Torts: 1) Intentional wrongs 2) Acts of Negligence
3) Strict liability

17 1) Intentional Wrong occurs when a person acts with the intent of injuring a person, his property, or both. This will frequently be taken to both criminal courts as well as civil. The criminal court will punish the wrong doer and the civil court will compensate the victim.

18 2) Negligence Negligence is the most common tort. A person’s failure to use reasonable care results in harm being done to an individual.

19 3) Strict Liability applies when the defendant is engaged in an activity with a high risk of serious harm. The person does not have to intend to harm another person. Dropping a rock off an overpass. The person did not intend to hurt the victim and it was not negligent.

20 Types of Strict Liability
a. Owners of dangerous pets (Pitbulls) b. People who engage in highly dangerous activities (Tree cutting) c. Manufacture or sale of defective products. (Toyota accelerators)

21 Going to court It is an individual that brings the case before the court, not the state. Civil Law settles disputes between individuals and groups of individuals. Punishment will not include jail time.

22 Criminal law requires the greatest standard of proof because the punishment stakes involve loss of liberty or other basic rights. The defendant must be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil Law requires a Preponderance of Evidence to find fault. This means that 50% of the evidence is in the plaintiff’s favor.

23 Who can be sued? Almost everyone. Who do you sue? The person or organization with the most money? You would rather sue the owner than the employee. You would rather sue the parents than the child. Many corporations will purchase liability insurance.

24 Who has immunity (can’t be sued)?
Parents and minor children cannot not sue each other. The state unless they waive their right to be protected from tort liability. These rights are generally waived for negligence or omissions from government employees. The President and many federal officials can’t be sued for activities performed while doing their job.

25 Class Action law Suits are filed on behalf of large groups. The compensation is then split among the entire group. Most lawyers take these cases on Contingency.

26 To protect themselves from having to possibly pay damages in the future, many companies or professionals will purchase liability insurance. The insured person will make payments called Premiums. The insurance company will then pay any legal defense fees as well as damages that a court awards in the case of a potential lawsuit. Most car insurance includes liability insurance.

27 Malpractice Most liability insurance carries maximum amounts that can be paid out. The more risky the insured person is, the more risky the profession, the higher the risk to the insurance company. They then charge more for the premium. This is why is costs more to insure an adolescent than an adult. Doctors carry liability insurance to protect themselves from expensive Malpractice suits. This insurance costs a lot because of the natural risks of being a lawyer. We as consumers pay the costs of this insurance as it is added into the fees that are charged.

28 Workers Compensation Companies contribute to a state fund to pay for people who have been injured on the job. Workers do not need to go to court. They are eligible to receive money for their medical treatment as well as a portion of their salary. The employee generally gives up their right to sue the employer. Workers Compensation is the Exclusive Remedy. This means it is the only option for the worker. Workers Compensation will not be paid to employees who exhibit gross negligence or are under the influence of drugs. A worker will often have to go to a specific doctor to have the injury certified.

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