Tort is the French word for “a wrong.” The law provides remedies to persons and businesses that are injured by the tortious actions of others. Under tort law, an injured party can bring a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for a wrong done to the party or to the party’s property. Many torts have their origin in common law. The courts and legislatures have extended tort law to reflect changes in modern society. Most torts are either intentional torts or unintentional torts such as negligence. These are based on the concept of fault. In many jurisdictions, the law recognizes the doctrine of strict liability. Under this doctrine, in certain circumstances, defendants may be held liable without fault.
Tort damages are monetary damages that are sought from the offending party. They are intended to compensate the injured party for the injury suffered. Such injury may consist of past and future medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, mental distress, and other damages caused by the defendant’s tortious conduct. If the victim of a tort dies, his or her beneficiaries can bring a wrongful death action to recover damages from the defendant.
Under the doctrine of negligence, also referred to as ordinary negligence or unintentional tort, a person is liable for harm that is the foreseeable consequence of his or her actions. Negligence is defined as “the omission to do something which a reasonable man would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do.”4
To be successful in a negligence lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that (1) the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, (2) the defendant breached this duty of care, (3) the plaintiff suffered injury, (4) the defendant’s negligent act was the actual cause of the plaintiff’s injury, and (5) the defendant’s negligent act was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Each of these elements is discussed in the paragraphs that follow.
Find a case that involves negligence and share with the class. Discuss your thoughts after reading the story – do you think there was negligence? Or do you think it was a case of someone trying to get a big payday from a law suit?
Filing bankruptcy can help a person by discarding debt or making a plan to repay debts. A bankruptcy case normally begins when the debtor files a petition with the bankruptcy court. A petition may be filed by an individual, by spouses together, or by a corporation or other entity.
All bankruptcy cases are handled in federal courts under rules outlined in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.