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Public Injury vs. Public Offenses

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Presentation on theme: "Public Injury vs. Public Offenses"— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Injury vs. Public Offenses
Section 5-1

2 How Do Crimes and Torts Differ?
A crime is an offense against society. It is a public wrong. A tort is a private or civil wrong. It is an offense against an individual. If someone commits a tort, the person injured can sue and obtain a judgment for damages. An act can be both a crime and a tort. Example: Reckless driving resulting in an accident.

3 Is this a criminal or a civil wrong or both?
To support his family and still pursue a college education, JJ worked for a delivery service from 3:30 a.m. until his college classes began at 9 every weekday morning. He coached basketball after classes. Returning home each evening, he would care or his kids until 10 p.m. when his wife finished work. Early one morning, JJ fell asleep while driving his delivery truck and crashed into an oncoming car. JJ and the other driver, Shirley, were seriously injured and the vehicles were totaled. Is this a criminal or a civil wrong or both?

4 JJ committed a crime against society— the crime of reckless driving
JJ committed a crime against society— the crime of reckless driving. Police will investigate the crime and then give him a ticket or possibly arrest him. A county or district attorney will prosecute him in a criminal trial. If convicted he may be fined or jailed. JJ also committed a tort by injuring Shirley and her property. She may bring a civil suit against him. If she wins, Shirley can obtain a judgment against JJ as compensation for her injuries.

5 Elements of a Tort Duty-a legal obligation to do something
There are many specific torts, but there are certain elements that are common to all of them. Duty-a legal obligation to do something Breach of Duty- a violation of the duty Injury- a harm that is recognized by law Causation- proof that the breach of duty caused the injury

6 Elements of a Tort: 1. Duty
The following are the duties created by law: The duty not to injure another (bodily injury, injury to one’s reputation, invasion of one’s privacy). The duty not to interfere with the property rights of others, such as trespassing. The duty not to interfere with the economic rights of others, such as the right to contract.

7 Elements of a Tort: 2. Violation/Breach of Duty
Whether a breach of duty occurred is almost always a question of fact for a jury to decide. Some torts require intent (intentional torts) and some do not require intent (negligence).

8 Elements of a Tort: 3. Injury
Injury must be proved. If someone is acting recklessly, but no one is injured, there is NO tort.

9 Elements of a Tort: 4. Causation
There must be proof that violating the duty is what caused the injury. Proximate cause- exists when it is reasonably foreseeable that a breach of duty will result in an injury.

10 What’s Your Verdict? On a windy autumn day, Mason was burning dry leaves in his backyard. When he went inside to answer a telephone call, flames from the fire leaped to the next door neighbor’s fence and then to a tool shed where a small can of gasoline exploded. Soon the neighbor’s house was ablaze, and it burned to the ground. Did Mason commit a tort?

11 Did Mason Commit a Tort? YES!!
Duty: he owed a duty to the neighbors not to injure their property Violation: he breached the duty when he left the fire unattended so it spread to the neighbor’s property Injury: the injury occurred when the neighbor’s house was burned Causation: leaving the fire unattended was a proximate cause of the loss of the fence

12 Responsibility for Another’s Torts
With few exceptions, all persons, including minors, are liable for their conduct and are therefore liable for their torts. Children and insane persons may be held liable for injuring others. When one person is liable for the torts of another it is called vicarious liability. For example, parents may be held liable if they give their children guns or other dangerous materials without proper instruction. Strict liability is a kind of tort that involves neither intent nor carelessness.

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