Chapter 3.docx

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15 Apr 2012
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Chapter 3 Introduction to Torts
Introduction to tort law
Tort generally consist of a failure to fulfill a private obligation that was imposed by law
Torts and crimes
Tortfeasor is a person who has committed a tort
o Ex. on pg 60
Tort occurs when a person breaks private obligation
Crime occurs when a person breaks public obligation
Concept summary 3.1 on pg 61
More on pg 61
Torts and contracts
Torts may be confused with crimes and contracts
1 similarity and 4 differences btwn torts & contracts
o Structure (similarity)
Both tort & contract involve primary & secondary obligations
Primary obligations tell ppl how they should act
Ex. on pg 61
Secondary obligations are remedial
They tell ppl how they must act after primary obligations have
been broken
Ex. on pg 61
o Source of primary obligations
Obligations in tort are simply forced by law
Ex. on pg 62
Obligations in contract are created by the parties
Ex. on pg 62
o Privity
Doctrine of privity states tht the only ppl who can sue, or be sued, on a
contract are the parties themselves
In tort, there is no need for the parties to create a special relationship for
themselves
o Compensation
Purpose of creating obligations in tort law is to prevent them from
happening
Ex. on pg 62
Purpose of creating obligations in contract is to provide benefits
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Ex. on pg 62
o Risk management
Since tort obligations are imposed by law, they are more likely to take a
person by surprise and may require more than a person is actually capable
of providing
Obligations in contract are created voluntarily, they should never take the
parties by surprise and they should never require more than the parties
believe they can actually provide
o Concept summary 3.2 on pg 63
Types of torts
More on pg 63
Tort laws 1 of the most important strategies focuses on mental culpability
(responsibility)
Tort law sometimes require proof tht the defendant acted in a wrong way but sometimes
it does not
There are 3 possibilities
o Intentional torts happens when a person intentionally act in a wrong way
o Negligence torts happens when a person acts carelessly
o Strict liability torts happens when a person does smth wrong without intending
to do so & without acting carelessly
It creates special problems for risk management
Does not require proof of any sort of intentional or careless wrongdoing
It may substantially affect behavior
It is limited to situations in which the defendant is involved in some
extraordinarily dangerous activity
Ex. on pg 65
General principles of tort law
General principles tht apply throughout tort law
3 concepts
o Liability insurance
It is a contract in which an insurance company agrees to pay damages on
behalf of a person who incurs liability
Figure 3.1
It also includes a duty to defend
Duty to defend requires the insurance company to pay the expenses tht
are linked with lawsuits brought against the insured party
Ex. court costs
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