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*Most law deals with civil law instead of criminal law *The primary goal of civil law is not to punish but to protect people by helping them avoid problems.

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Presentation on theme: "*Most law deals with civil law instead of criminal law *The primary goal of civil law is not to punish but to protect people by helping them avoid problems."— Presentation transcript:


2 *Most law deals with civil law instead of criminal law *The primary goal of civil law is not to punish but to protect people by helping them avoid problems and resolve disputes  Tort Law – rules that govern civil wrongs › When a crime is committed in civil law it is called a tort › Largest area of civil law › Deals with some of society’s most controversial issues › Balances usefulness and harm while preserving individual choice › Encourages people to act responsibly by awarding money/damages to victims who are harmed by wrongdoers › Can be resolved by lawsuits, far more are settled without going to court › 90% of tort cases are settled without going to trial

3  Tort law deals with 2 basic questions: 1. Who should be responsible, or liable, for harm caused by human activities? 2. How much should the responsible/liable person have to pay? *Almost any activity can be a source of harm. *Torts occur when one person causes injury to another’s property or reputation.

4  Laws that are made by a judge through court decisions  They are written down and become precedents used to decide future cases.

5 1. Intentional Wrong › When a person acts with the intent of injuring a person, his or her property, or both › Can also be considered a criminal act  The defendant can be prosecuted by the state as well as sued by the plaintiff.  Civil tort action is used to recover monetary damages 2. Negligence › Unintentional › When a person fails to use reasonable care and causes harm 3. Strict Liability › When the defendant is engaged in an activity so dangerous that there is a serious risk of harm even if he or she acts with the utmost care › Plaintiff is not required to prove that the defendant was either negligent or intended to cause harm in order to recover damages

6 *In some situations, an act can be both a tort and a crime. This can lead to 2 separate actions (civil and criminal charges)  Standard of Proof › Amount of evidence the prosecutor must present in order to win the case in criminal court  Must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty  Preponderance of the Evidence › Standard requires that to win in civil court, more than 50% of the evidence must be in the plaintiff’s favor *Civil standard is easier to meet than the criminal standard *Penalties for those found liable in a civil action are less severe than the penalties for those found guilty of a crime *A person does not go to jail for committing a tort, instead pays damages to those injured

7  Almost anyone can be sued, including individuals, groups of individuals, organizations, businesses, and even units of government › People can sue employers for torts committed by employees in the course of their employment › Children/Minors who commit torts may be sued if it can be proven that they acted unreasonably for a person of that age and experience  The child’s parents are often sued as well *Plaintiffs try to sue a defendant who has enough money to pay for the damages.

8  Immunity – certain defendants that are protected from some kinds of tort suits › Suits within families  Some exceptions are made  Husband and Wives  Siblings  Parents and Children › Against governments and certain government officials or vice versa  The president, federal judges, and members of Congress are completely immune from tort liability for acts carried out within the scope of their duties

9  Sometimes there can be more than one plaintiff or injured party by one action  These individuals are allowed to form a “class” and bring their law suit together  The settlement or damage award will be divided among the townspeople who bring the suit

10  Used to protect an individual if accused of doing a wrong › When an accident occurs, the injured party can recover money from the wrongdoer’s insurance company, not from the wrongdoer.

11  Contract/agreement were a person agrees to make payments (premiums) to the insurance company, and the company agrees to pay for damages caused by the insured persons for the length of the contract › Companies set limits on how much they will pay › Companies do not cover intentional harm  Most doctors, lawyers, and other professionals carry liability insurance to protect themselves against malpractice suits  Manufactures often carry liability insurance to protect against lawsuits brought by consumers injured/harmed by their products  Home owners/Renters insurance provide coverage for loss and damage to insured property  Auto insurance protects possible losses by paying for repairs, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering from an injury

12  Medical Coverage › Pays for your medical expenses resulting from accidents caused by you › Pays for passengers in your car, no matter who is at fault  Collision Coverage › Pays for damage to your own car, even if the accident was your fault › Pays up to the actual value of the car  Comprehensive Coverage › Protects you against damage or loss to your car from causes other than collisions  Uninsured Motorist Coverage › Protects you from other drivers who do not have insurance or do not have enough insurance  Deductible › Amount that you agree to pay toward repairs before the insurance company pays anything › Can lower the cost of collision insurance

13  Actions taken to deliberately harm another person or their property  2 General Types of Intentional Torts 1. Those causing injury to persons 2. Those causing harm to property

14  Compensatory Damages › A person who proves that someone else committed an intentional tort against him/her can recover damages to make up for the harm caused. › Future losses must be proved by the plaintiff › i.e. medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering  Nominal Damages › Token amount of money awarded by the court to show that the claim was justified › Are awarded to recognize that the defendant acted wrongfully even though they did not cause substantial injury or loss.

15  Punitive Damages › Amounts of money awarded to the plaintiff to punish the defendant for malicious, willful, or outrageous acts. * It is possible for both nominal and punitive damages to be warded even where there is little or no actual harm that would justify compensatory damages. * Sometimes people sued for intentional torts do not have to pay any damages at all, even though they did exactly what the plaintiff claims… the defendant may have a legal defense.

16  Battery › Considered harmful or offensive contact that would offend the average person in society  Assault › Can be an intentional threat, show of force, or movement that causes a reasonable fear. › A plaintiff can recover compensation for mental disturbance, such as fright or embarrassment, along with any physical injury that directly results from the assault.

17  Intentionally using words or actions that are meant to scare someone or cause them extreme anxiety or emotional distress. * Relatively new tort that was recognized since the 1940s * Actual injury is not required for the plaintiff to recover damages * Plaintiff must prove extreme distress * Courts require that the defendant’s conduct be quite outrageous * Mere insults are not enough to form the basis of a lawsuit for emotional distress

18  Protects a person’s right to be free from unreasonable restraint  It occurs when someone intentionally and wrongfully confines another person against his or her will

19  Occurs when someone makes a false statement about another person that is communicated to a third party, causing harm to the person’s reputation  Includes acts that harm a person’s reputation and can be classified as oral or written › Slander – oral statements that harm reputation › Libel – written statements that harm reputation * Damages are often more difficult to prove for slander than for libel * The law also protects opinion

20 *Protects against interference with the owner’s exclusive use of the property *Protects against property being taken or damaged.  Real Property = land and items attached to it › Trespass: entering property without permission  Personal Property = property that can be moved  Intellectual Property = creations of a person’s mind › Patent – recognizes ownership of an invention › Copyright – ownership of an expression › Infringement – person who uses patented or copyrighted work

21  Consent › Written, spoken, or assumed agreement to something  Privilege › The right to speak or write personally damaging words because the law allows it.  Self-defense › The right to defend oneself with whatever force is reasonably necessary against an actual or reasonably perceived threat of personal harm.  Defense of property › The use of reasonable force, which would otherwise be illegal, to defen your home or other property.

22 ELEMENTS OF NEGLIGENCE 1. Duty › The defendant, or accused wrongdoer, owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, or injured person 2. Breach of Duty › The defendant’s conduct breached or violated the duty 3. Causation › The defendant’s conduct caused the plaintiff’s harm 4. Damages › The plaintiff suffered actual injuries or losses

23  Defendant is liable to the plaintiff regardless of fault 1. Dangerous Activities  Toxic Torts 2. Animals 3. Defective Products

24 1. Should compensate harmed persons in a prompt and efficient way 2. Fairly allocate benefits to victims and costs to wrongdoers 3. Deter conduct that is unreasonably risky or dangerous

25 Arguments  Amount of money awarded to plaintiffs is sometimes unreasonably high  Going to court has become much too expensive with lawyers getting too much of the money awarded  Civil courts take too long to resolve disputes  Tort law is so complicated that it can be difficult to determine who is at fault  The injured party should sometimes receive compensation for a loss, regardless of whether the other party was at fault

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