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Unit 6 – Civil Law.

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1 Unit 6 – Civil Law

2 Torts In criminal law, when someone commits a wrong, we call it a CRIME In civil law, when someone commits a wrong, we call it a TORT BUT A TORT IS NOT A CRIME!!!!

3 What is a Tort? A civil wrong committed by one person against another person, or a person’s property or reputation The rules that govern civil wrongs are called tort law, and try to answer two basic questions: Who should be responsible, or liable, for harms caused by human activities? How much should the responsible person have to pay? Tort law also establishes standards of care that society expects from people. Failure to exercise reasonable care may result in legal liability (responsibility)

4 For what can you be liable?
Driving a car Operating a business Speaking Writing Using property All of these can be a source of harm, and therefore, of tort liability.

5 Definitions Plaintiff: person claiming injury
Defendant: alleged wrongdoer Remedy: something to make up for what was lost Damages: remedy that is money Wrongful act: defendant’s unreasonable behavior; violates duty to others

6 Tort Law can be settled through:
Negotiation – discussing an issue to reach a settlement (informal) Mediation – third party helps to talk the issue through, but does not impose a decision (informal) Arbitration – third party listens to both sides and makes a decision, usually binding (formal) Court

7 Types of Torts INTENTIONAL WRONG – a person acts with intent to injure a person or property (may also be tried as a crime) STRICT LIABILITY – applies when the defendant is engaged in behavior so dangerous that there is serious risk of harm, even if he or she asks with extreme care No need to prove that the defendant intended to cause harm or was negligent in order to recover damages Refers to people who own dangerous animals or engage in highly dangerous activities, or manufacturers and sellers of dangerous products

8 Types of Torts 3. NEGLIGENCE - an unintentional tort; occurs when a person fails to use reasonable care, causing harm Elements of Negligence (must be there for plaintiff to win suit) Duty: defendant owed a duty of care to plaintiff Breach of duty: duty was violated by defendant’s actions Causation: defendant’s conduct caused the plaintiff’s harm Degrees of Negligence Contributory Negligence: as the plaintiff, you cannot recover damages if you contributed to the harm suffered Comparative Negligence: if each side is at fault, they each pay the percentage of liability in the case Counterclaim: two competing claims; defendant claims wrongdoing on plaintiff’s part. Assumption of Risk: a person voluntarily encounters a known danger and willingly accepts the risk of that danger

9 Awards in a Civil Suit Compensatory Damages – awards that compensate for harm (hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.) Nominal Damages – token amount that makes a statement about that what was done wrong, even though the plaintiff did not sustain a substantial loss Punitive Damages: usually large amounts of money to punish the defendant and send a message that others should not do this act. Waiver – by signing a waiver, you give up your right to sue in civil court for damages that occur as a result of the activity in which you are engaged

10 Class Action Lawsuit There can be more than one plaintiff or injured party in a case. The number of plaintiffs and can sometimes grow into the hundreds. In this case, the injured parties form a “class” and bring their lawsuits together into one case This a called a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT

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