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Chapter 18 notes

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Chapter 18 notes

  1. 1. Torts: A Civil Wrong<br />Business Law<br />Chapter 18<br />
  2. 2. Torts: A Civil Wrong<br />In civil law, when a person commits a wrong, it is called a tort<br />Civil law deals with crimes against individuals<br />Harmed individual is the plaintiff<br />Seek to win judgment against the defendant<br />Individual is ordered to compensate the plaintiff usually in the form of paying monetary damages<br />Some illegal activity can be both a crime and a tort<br />
  3. 3. The Idea of Liability<br /><ul><li>Tort law deals with 2 basic questions:</li></ul>Who should be liable, or responsible for harm caused<br />How much should the responsible person have to pay<br /><ul><li>Establishes standards of care for society
  4. 4. Sometimes an injury is partially or entirely the fault of the victim
  5. 5. Tort law then provides no remedy</li></li></ul><li>The Idea of Liability<br />Liability – Legal responsibility for harm – is not the same as moral responsibility<br />Can be morally at fault, but not civilly <br />Can be civilly liable for injuries to another without being morally at fault<br />The agreement the two parties reach is called a settlement<br />If they cannot agree, the injured party may sue<br />Approximately 90% of cases are settled out of court<br />
  6. 6. The Idea of Torts: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow<br />Judges in England were deciding in the 15th century<br />Generally based on common law – law made through court decisions<br />May also be cased on statutes – written laws<br />Drinking and driving<br />Seeks to balance usefulness and harm<br />Drugs that help people<br />Tries to preserve individual choice<br />Smoking<br />Often at the forefront of public controversy<br />
  7. 7. Types of Torts<br />Three major categories: intentional wrongs, acts of negligence, and strict liability<br />Intentional wrong – Action done with the intent of injuring a person, their property, or both<br />May also be crimes – may be prosecuted by the state<br />Most common is negligence – unintentional tort<br />Occurs when a person fails to use reasonable care<br />Strict liability differs from both<br />Three groups of people face strict liability:<br />Owners of dangerous animals<br />People who engage in highly dangerous activities<br />Manufacturers and sellers of defective products<br />
  8. 8. Taking Your Case to Court<br />Tort law is civil law<br />Can be both a tort and a crime – civil and criminal<br />Must prove beyond a reasonable doubt<br />Standard of proof – Amount of evidence a prosecutor must present<br />Preponderance of the evidence – More than 50% of the weight of evidence<br />Is that fair?<br />
  9. 9. Taking Your Case to Court<br />Who can be sued?<br />Individuals, groups, organizations, businesses, and even units of the government<br />Plaintiffs try to sue a defendant that will cover the damages – deep pockets<br />People can sue employers for torts<br />Children who commit torts can also be sued<br />Must prove the minor acted unreasonably for their age and experience<br />Certain defendants are immune, or protected<br />Governments and certain officials<br />Children cannot sue their parents…usually<br />Husbands and wives – one legal entity<br />
  10. 10. Taking Your Case to Court<br />The notion of government immunity comes from England<br />“the King can do no wrong”<br />Today this is different…kind of<br />Federal Tort Claims Act<br />The president, federal judges, and members of Congress are completely immune<br />1997 case of Clinton vs. Jones<br />President was not immune while in office<br />Other high ranking officials have qualified immunity<br />
  11. 11. Taking Your Case to Court<br />Can be more than one plaintiff<br />Injured parties form a “class” – called a class action<br />If you are going to sue, you should hire an attorney<br />They will mostly work for a contingency fee<br />Not always beneficial to the plaintiff<br />
  12. 12. Insurance<br />Liability insurance is a contract, or agreement<br />Insured person agrees to make payments –known as premiums<br />Companies may require person to have attorney<br />Most doctors, lawyers, and other professionals carry liability insurance<br />Protects them from malpractice suits<br />Manufacturers also carry this type of insurance as do homeowners and renters<br />Very few insurance policies cover intentional harm<br />
  13. 13. Insuring a Car<br />Auto insurance is the most important<br />Approximately six million auto accidents in 2006<br />42,000 deaths – 41% because of alcohol<br />$230 billion in losses<br />Can pay for repairs, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering<br />Liability, medical, collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist, and no-fault<br />Liability covers only so much, you have to pay the rest<br />
  14. 14. Insuring a Car<br />Liability policies have three limits:<br />Injuries per person<br />Total injuries to all persons involved<br />Property damage<br />Medical coverage pays for your medical bills and any passengers<br />Collision coverage pays for damage to your own car<br />Can lower cost by including a deductible<br />
  15. 15. Insuring a Car<br />Comprehensive coverage – Protects you against damage or loss to you car other than collision<br />Vandalism, fire, or theft<br />Uninsured motorist coverage – Protects you from other drivers who don’t have insurance<br />Usually inexpensive<br />No-fault insurance – Insurance company pays up to a certain amount no matter who’s at fault<br />Usually have to waive your right to sue the other party<br />
  16. 16. Worker’s Compensation<br />Pays employees who are injured on the job<br />Make contributions or take out insurance<br />Do not have to go to court<br />Receive a portion of your salary<br />Give up the right to sue your employer<br />If you don’t follow safety rules, you won’t be covered<br />Amount of money and time are set by a schedule<br />Workers’ comp is an exclusive remedy – only compensation for on-the-job injuries<br />Some states have panels that will hear cases<br />

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