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Negligence and Unintentional Torts

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Presentation on theme: "Negligence and Unintentional Torts"— Presentation transcript:

1 Negligence and Unintentional Torts

2 What is a Tort? Damage to property or a personal injury caused by another person is a civil wrong called a tort Tort Law holds persons, private organizations, and governments responsible for damages and injuries Unintentional Torts – injuries that are the result of an accident or an action that was not intended to cause harm

3 Negligence The most common type of unintentional tort
Occurs when you Cause injury to someone in a situation where you should have known your actions could cause harm

4 Negligence - factors Stage 1 – Duty of Care
The obligation to avoid careless actions that could cause harm to one or more persons. Neighbour principle The legal responsibility to owe a duty of care not to harm one's neighbour by being careless or negligent Your neighbour is anyone who you can reasonably foresee being injured by your actions Foresee ability – being aware that your actions could cause injury to someone

5 Negligence – factors Stage 2 – Standard of Care
if a duty of care is owed to a “neighbour”, to what extent is that duty required? What would a reasonable person do in a similar circumstances? A reasonable person is considered to be an ordinary person of normal intelligence Professional liability – specialised standard of care People with specialised skills or training have a higher standard of care with respect to their field of expertise A reasonable person with the same specialised training Medical negligence Patients much give voluntary , informed consent in normal circumstances before a doctor can perform any medical procedure or test

6 Negligence – factors Stage 2 – Standard of Care Children
Special status under the law Children under the age of 6 are rarely found liable for their actions as they are believed to be too young to foresee the consequences Children over the age of 6 – courts consider their age, intelligence, life experience and what another child of similar age and intelligence would have done under similar circumstances Adult activities – i.e. driving a motor vehicle – child is responsible for the same standard of care as an adult

7 Negligence – factors Stage 2 – Standard of Care
Parental Responsibility Parents are not automatically liable for their children’s actions Can be held responsible if they fail to supervise or train their children Certain provinces have laws that hold parents responsible for torts committed by their children Parents may need to prove that they acted responsibly in order to not have to pay damages Children can sue their parents if the parent acted irresponsibly

8 Negligence – factors Stage 2 – Standard of Care Rescuers
Good Samaritan laws generally hold the standard of care for rescuers to a lower standard than other situations Person who was negligent in his/hers actions and caused the situation owes a duty of care to both the victim and the rescuer

9 Negligence – factors Stage 3 – Causation Cause-in-Fact Apportionment
“but for” test – i.e. the injury would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s actions Apportionment The division of fault among wrongdoers Remoteness of Damage Harm that could not have been foreseen due to a lack of close connection between the wrong and the injury Intervening act An unforeseeable event that interrupts the chain of events started by the defendant.

10 Negligence – factors Stage 3 – Causation Thin-Skull rule
Defendant is liable for all damages caused by negligence despite any pre-existing conditions that make the plaintiff more prone to injury

11 Special Types of Liability
Product Liability Manufacturers have to meet a higher standard of care in order to prevent injury to consumers of their products Product must be free of harmful defects Product is properly manufactured Consumer must be properly informed about how to use the product safely Consumer must be warned about the risks associated with using the product

12 Special Types of Liability
Occupiers’ Liability People who own or occupy a property have a duty to maintain their property so that no one entering the premises is injured Standard of care is dependent on the kind of visitor Invitee (highest standard of care) Person invited onto the premises for a business purpose Licensee Social visitor such as a friend Often the first two categories are combined Trespasser No legal right to be on your property Children who trespass are treated differently than adults (allurement)

13 Special Types of Liability
Hosts People who serve alcohol to their guests Commercial hosts have a statutory duty of care to their patrons and anyone who may be injured by their patrons’ negligent driving Social hosts law is developing

14 Special Types of Liability
Vicarious Liability Legal responsibility for the negligence of another person Employer may be responsible for the actions of the employees Automobile Negligence Negligence as a result of the operation of a motor vehicle Usually covered by liability insurance Strict Liability Defendant is automatically liable for any injury caused by a dangerous substance or activity Animal control laws Pollution

15 Defences to Negligence
Did not owe a duty of care Met the standard of care Your actions did not cause the injury/damage Contributory Negligence Plaintiff contributed to the injury by displaying unreasonable conduct Voluntary Assumption of Risk Plaintiff knowingly and willingly assumed the potential risks normally associated with the activity May have to sign a waiver before being permitted to participate Signing a waiver does not automatically exempt the defendant from liability

16 Defences to Negligence
Other Defences Inevitable accident Accident was unavoidable due to an uncontrollable event Act of God Accident caused buy an extraordinary, unexpected natural event Explanation Accident occurred for a valid reason even though the defendant took every precaution Statute of Limitations People must sue for damages within a reasonable time

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