Chapter 6: Negligence
The tort of negligence
-The tort of negligence determines whether the defendant can be held liable for carelessly causing and
injury to the plaintiff
The tort of negligence requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant:
1. Owed a duty of care, in that it was required to act carefully toward the plaintiff
2. Breached the standard of care by acting carelessly
3. Caused harm to the plaintiff
1. Duty of care pg. 130
-Exists if the defendant is required to use reasonable care to avoid injuring the plaintiff. Without a duty
of care there cannot be liability even if the defendant carelessly injured the plaintiff.
-To determine whether or not there is a duty of care evident, the judge might find it obvious in the case
for example of a mother’s duty of care for a child. If not obvious, then the judge will ask 3 questions:
1. Was it reasonably foreseeable that the plaintiff could be injured by the defendants’
-Reasonable foreseeability: Objective test that determines whether a reasonable person
would have recognized the possibility of harming the plaintiff.
2. Did the parties share a relationship of sufficient proximity?
-Proximity: must somehow be a close and direct connection between the parties, such as a
Social relationship, commercial/professional relationship or direct casual connection.
4. If an injury was reasonably foreseeable. And if the parties shared a relationship of sufficient
proximity, then a duty of care presumably will exist. The judge may still deny a duty of care
on the basis of policy reasons.
-Policy: Concerned with the effect that a duty of care would have on the legal system and on
society in general. For example if the duty of care would open the floodgates and have a
very large number of lawsuits swamping the courts, interfere with political decisions or hurt
a valuable type of relationship such as a mother to an unborn child.
2. Breach of the standard of care pg. 137
-When the defendant acts carelessly
-Determined by the reasonable person test: Requires the defendant to act the same way that a
reasonable person wo