tortsCh06_3rd - 121 P art of doing business today and,...

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The Basis of Tort Law Two notions serve as the basis of all torts: wrongs and compensation. Tort law is designed to compensate those who have suffered a loss or injury due to another person’s wrongful act. In a tort action, one person or group brings a lawsuit against another person or group to obtain compensation (monetary damages) or other relief for the harm suffered. The Purpose of Tort Law The basic purpose of tort law is to provide remedies for the invasion of various protected interests. Society recognizes an interest in personal physical safety, and tort law provides remedies for acts that cause physical injury or that interfere with physical security and free- dom of movement. Society recognizes an interest in protecting property,and tort law provides remedies for acts that cause destruction or damage to property. Society also recognizes an interest in protecting cer- tain intangible interests, such as personal privacy,fam- ily relations, reputation, and dignity, and tort law pro- vides remedies for violation of these interests. Damages Available in Tort Actions Because the purpose of tort law is to compensate the injured party for the damage suffered, you need to have an understanding of the types of damages that plaintiffs seek in tort actions.The high cost to society of sizable damages awards in tort cases has fueled the tort reform movement,which is discussed in this chap- ter’s Contemporary Legal Debates feature on pages 124 and 125. Compensatory Damages Compensatory damages are intended to compensate or reimburse a plaintiff for actual losses—to make the plaintiff whole and put her or him in the same position that she or he would have been had the tort not occurred. Compensatory damages awards are often broken down into special damages and general damages. Special damages compensate the plaintiff for quantifi- P art of doing business today— and,indeed,part of everyday life—is the risk of being involved in a lawsuit.The list of circumstances in which businesspersons can be sued is long and varied.A customer who is injured by a security guard at a business establishment,for example,may attempt to sue the business owner,claiming that the security guard’s conduct was wrongful.Any time that one party’s allegedly wrongful conduct causes injury to another,an action may arise under the law of torts (the word tort is French for “wrong”). Through tort law,society compensates those who have suffered injuries as a result of the wrongful conduct of others. Many of the lawsuits brought by or against business firms are based on the tort theories discussed in this chapter,which covers intentional torts,and the next chapter,which discusses unintentional torts. Intentional torts arise from intentional acts, whereas unintentional torts often result from carelessness (as when an employee at a store knocks over a display case,injuring a customer).In addition,this chapter discusses how tort law applies to wrongful actions in the online environment.Tort theories also
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tortsCh06_3rd - 121 P art of doing business today and,...

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