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chapter6student - CHAPTER 6 ELEMENTS OF TORTS Torts are one...

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CHAPTER 6 ELEMENTS OF TORTS Torts are one part of the common law that affect business. Tort law changes more than other parts of the common law; increased tort liability over time has caused much complaining by business groups about tort law, leading to lobbying for statutes that would limit tort liability. TORTS AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM— Torts are civil wrongs committed when one invades the protected interests of another. Liability is imposed for conduct that unreasonably interferes with the interests of another. The concept is elastic as social values change over time, so new tort actions are not uncommon. Business and Torts —Most tort actions faced by businesses are when it, via its agents, employees, or products, inflicts injuries on other persons or businesses. Most torts suffered by employees are covered by worker compensation laws instead of tort law. Torts are classified as intentional, based on negligence, or strict liability. Some torts are peculiar to business and will be covered in Chapter 7. Role of Tort Law —Tort law is to provide compensation for wrongful injuries on the wrongdoer and to attempt to return the plaintiff to the position he or she would have been in were it not for the tort. Some torts are also crimes, but this is private or civil law, not public or criminal law. NEGLIGENCE BASED TORTS —Concerns unintentional but careless conduct that breaches a duty of care owed to a party who suffers an injury caused by the conduct. The conduct in question created an unreasonable risk of harm. Elements: 1) wrongdoer owed a duty of care to injured party; 2) the duty was breached by an act or omission by wrongdoer (negligence); 3) causation between the negligent conduct and resulting harm; and 4) damages suffered by injured party. International Perspectives: Tort Liability in France The Civil Code of France establishes liability for negligent acts that looks very much like common law negligence. Harm that may be compensated can be physical or economic. A notion like proximate cause is used, but juries do not determine the extent of harm or the losses to be compensated. Strict liability does not exist in the Code.
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6-2 Part 2: Elements of Traditional Business Law Duty of Care —Negligence means that a person’s conduct violates the duty of care in a particular situation. The conduct that would be expected of a reasonable person under the circumstances determines the due care or ordinary care expected. How a person ought to behave depends on the circumstances—the reasonable person may be a skilled engineer or knowledgeable tax advisor. CASE: Squish La Fish v. Thomco Specialty Products Causation —In negligence there must be causation—a logical linkage—between the careless conduct and the injury suffered.
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