lecture notes ch. 6

lecture notes ch. 6 - Chapter 6 Title:BusLawSeal.eps...

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Chapter 6 Intentional Torts C HAPTER O UTLINE I. The Basis of Tort Law Tort law compensates those who suffer a loss or injury due to another’s wrongful act. A. T HE P URPOSE OF T ORT L AW The purpose of tort law is to provide an injured party with a remedy for the violation of  legally   recognized   and   protected   interests   (personal   safety,   freedom   of   movement,  property, and some intangibles, including privacy and reputation). B. D AMAGES A VAILABLE IN T ORT A CTIONS
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1. Compensatory Damages Special damages  cover quantifiable losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages  and benefits, the loss of irreplaceable items, and the costs of repairing or replacing  damaged property.  General damages  are for non-monetary harm, such as pain  and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, disfigurement, loss of  reputation, and loss or impairment of mental or physical capacity. 2. Punitive Damages These punish a wrongdoer and deter others from similar wrongdoing, and are  awarded only when conduct was particularly egregious or reprehensible. Punitive  damages are subject to the limits of the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution. A NSWER TO C RITICAL A NALYSIS Q UESTION IN THE F EATURE C ONTEMPORARY L EGAL D EBATES Large damages awards in tort litigation have to be paid by someone. If the defendant is insured, then insurance companies foot the bill. Ultimately, though, high insurance rates are passed on to consumers of goods and services in the United States. Consequently, tort reform that reduces the size and number of damages awards ultimately will mean lower costs of goods and services to consumers. The downside of these lower costs, though, might be higher risks of medical malpractice and dangerous products. Do you believe that this trade-off is real? Why or why not?   Insurance often covers damages awards in the United States, and the  premiums can be adjusted to reflect increased amounts of awards. But insurance premiums can also go  up simply to increase the profits of the insurance companies. Such increases may also be passed on to  consumers. If damages awards have been curtailed, businesses and consumers would thus be paying  higher prices without a trade off. If insurance premiums were lowered to reflect lower damages awards— this seems unlikely, at least in the long run—it is not likely that a business would be willing to take  higher risks with dangerous products. The business’s reputation could suffer, and its profits could as  easily   disappear   as  if  they   were   paid   to   insurance   companies   as  premiums.   If  tort   liability   is  a  businessperson’s primary concern, then locations in which damages awards are fewer in number and  lower in amount might be appropriate places in which to choose to do business.
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lecture notes ch. 6 - Chapter 6 Title:BusLawSeal.eps...

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