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LAW 122 (618)
Chapter 3

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Department
Law and Business
Course
LAW 122
Professor
Theresa Miedema
Semester
Fall

Description
Tort  Consists of a failure to fulfill a private obligation that was imposed by law  Occurs when a person breaks a private obligation, while a crime occurs when a person breaks a public obligation o Public obligation is owed to society as a whole, rather than a certain person  Example: I owe an obligation to you personally to not make defamatory statements about your past. This would be broken if I falsely tell your employer that you were once convicted of murder. Therefore, you will be entitled to sue me and, if you win, I would be held liable and probably ordered to pay damages to you Tortfeasor  A person who has committed a tort Tort Law vs. Criminal Law Tort  Form of private law  Where the defendant owes an obligation to the plaintiff  If obligation is broken, the plaintiff sues the defendant  Remedy would be compensatory damages Criminal  Form of public law  Where the accused owes an obligation to society  If obligation is broken, the government prosecutes the accused  Remedy would be punishment, such as fine or imprisonment Types of Torts  Intentional Torts o Occur when a person intentionally acts in certain ways o Assault o Battery o Trespass to land o Conspiracy  Negligence Torts o Occur when a person acts carelessly o Occupiers’ liability o Negligence o Nuisance  Strict Liability Torts o Occur when a person does something wrong without intending to do so o Don’t require any sort of intentional or careless wrongdoing o Liability is imposed, since the defendant was responsible for the situation that injured the plaintiff o Animals o Rylands vs. Fletcher Liability Insurance  Contract where an insurance company agrees, in exchange for a price, to pay damages on behalf of a person who incurs liability  Scenario: a) Defendant enters in a contract with the insurance company for the purchase of liability insurance b) Defendant commits a tort against the plaintiff that fails within the scope of the insurance policy c) Insurance company pays damages to the plaintiff on the defendant’s behalf Duty to Defend  Requires the insurance company to pay the expenses associated with lawsuits brought against the insured party  Compensatory Function o Aims to fully compensate people who are wrongfully injured o If the tortfeasor cannot afford to pay damages, the plaintiff won’t receive full compensation unless the defendant is insured  Deterrence Function o Discourages people from committing torts by threatening to hold them liable for the losses they cause Vicarious Liability  Occurs when one person is held liable for a tort that was committed by another person  Example: A vehicle owner is held liable if an accident is caused by either a family member or a person who borrowed the car with permission  Scenario: a) Victim of the tort can sue the employee. The employee is personally liable for the tort b) Victim of the tort can sue the employer. The employer is vicariously liable for the employee’s tort c) If the employer pays damages to the victim, the employer may have the right to recover that amount from the employee  Allows the plaintiff to claim damages for both an employee and an employer  Serves tort law’s deterrence function by encouraging employers to avoid unusually hazardous activities and to
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