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Lecture 4

LAW 122 Lecture 4: LAW122Week4

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Ryerson University
Law and Business
LAW 122
Maanit Zemel

Negligence: the carless causing of harm ● law of accidents ● the tort of negligence balances the interests of plaintiffs and defendant ● tries to compensate plaintiff for harm caused by actions conducted carelessly while allowing the defendants to take some risks. Test for negligence: 1. Duty of care: is there a duty of care to the plaintiff? or why should the defendant care about the plaintiff 2. Standard of Care: what is the standard of care and did the defendant breach it. 3. Causation Duty of Care ● analyzes the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant ● Two Part Test, Have previous cases decided that there is a duty of care between someone like the defendant and someone like the plaintiff? ● ex. Manufacturer owes a duty of care to a consumer of its product. Manufacturer vs Consumer ● Car accidents- between drivers and other users on the road If there are no precedents, the court will apply a 3-part test: ● was the harm to the plaintiff reasonably foreseeable by the defendant? ● is there a relationship of proximity between the plaintiff and defendant? Reasonable Foreseeability ● would a reasonable person have anticipated that the plaintiff would be harmed by the defendant’s carelessness? ● ex. Slip and fall on icy sidewalk in front of the store- it’s reasonably foreseeable that if you don’t clear the ice, someone will fall. ● Not subjective- the opinion of either the plaintiff or defendant does not matter ● allows for assessment of risk and insurance coverage. Duty of Care 2: ● Proximity means close and direct connection between the plaintiff and defendant ● ex. Social Relationship ( Parent and Child) ● Commercial Relationship- Bar and Drunk Driver ● Manufacturer and Consumer Duty of Care- Public Policy ● What effect would a duty of care have on society and the legal system? ● Does our society wish to encourage or discourage a person like the defendant to owe a duty to a person like the plaintiff’s? ● Courts may consider: ● would the decision open the floodgates for litigation? ● would it interfere with political decisions? ● will it hurt a valuable type of relationship? Element #2- Standard of Care ● What is the standard of care?- how should the defendant have acted in this situation? ● Reasonable person test- how would a reasonable person act in this situation? ● are there legal, moral or social requirements to act in a certain way? ● ex. when driving, there is a legal requirement to stop at a red light not to speed etc. ● It is an objective test ● subjective conduct of defendant does not matter ● the standard of care is not perfect only that of an average person in the same circumstances ● no hindsight Standard of care for professionals ● special standard of care for persons in professional roles, doctors, lawyers ● standard is higher than of a lay person ● the professional must act as a reasonable professional in similar circumstances ● no allowance for inexperience ● no allowance for exaggerated credentials ● standard may be higher still for a specialist or expert, must act as a reasonable expert would act. Standard of care for products: product liability ● harm caused by manufactured products ● in canada- manufacturer liable only for careless defects. ● Examples; defect in the manufacturing of the product ex. snail in beer ● defect in the design of the product ● failure to warn of known risks, medication side effects. Element 3: Causation ● did the defendant’s conduct caused the harm? ● if the harm to the plaintiff was caused by something or someone other than th
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