A tort is a civil wrong arising from an act or failure to act, independently of any contact, for which an action for personal injury or property damages may be brought. It deals with situations where a person’s behaviour has unfairly caused someone else to suffer loss or harm. A person who suffers a tortious act is entitled to receive compensation for “damages”, usually money payment from the person or people responsible. The tort of negligence is a type of civil wrong where a contract does not exists between two parties and it is not a crime where punishment is the main objective to the offender.
For example, trespass on private property or nuisance behaviour, these have no contract between the claimant and defendant and are dealt with under tort. In tort there must be four elements: 1, Duty of care, 2, Breach of legal duty, 3, Loss suffered and 4, causation. For the case to succeed the claimant must show the following: 1, There was duty of care, 2, There was breach of the duty, 3, Negligence was the main cause. Damages are split into two broad categories: 1, Special damages – are damages that are quantifiable (E. g. loss of earnings, hospitals bills etc.).
2, General damages – are damages that are less easily quantifiable and more subjective. They include elements for pain and suffering, loss of amenity and enjoyment of life, future health problems etc. Not all types of loss are recognised by the Law of negligence, for example the claimant cannot receive compensation for upset and inconvenience. Nominally the types of loss recognised as being cable of being claimed are: Physical damage to the person or property of the plaintiff, Consequential economic damage, Nervous shock and psychological damage.
The neighbour principle explains how we should apply reasonable care not to injure or harm anyone, who comes into direct relationship with us or with whom we are involved with. The concept of the neighbour relationship outlines the practical boundaries in which we are a duty of care. Explanations Nuisance This is an ancient law but has a renewed importance today as it is often used in claims concerning the protection of the environment from pollution and other elements. It protects rights of enjoyment of land and its premises.
The tort of nuisance can be defined as an act that causes an unreasonable interference, annoyance or disturbances a person who seeks to exercise his/her rights relating to land. There are two types of nuisance, Public and Private. For example, barking dogs, noisy neighbours and burning rubbish on land. Negligence The area of tort law known as negligence involves harm caused by carelessness, not intentional harm. Proving a case for negligence entitle the injured plaintiff to compensation for his/her harm to their body, property, mental well-being, financial status or intimate relationships.
“those who go personally or being property where they know that they or it may come into collision with the persons or property of others have by the law a duty cast upon them to use reasonable care and skill to avoid such collision” stated by Fletcher V. Rylands 1866. Trespass This is one of the oldest forms of civil liability and the oldest form of tort law. Trespass companies a number of separate torts. They can be trespass to a person (assault, battery or false imprisonment). There can also be trespass to goods or land. For example, putting their hands on someone without their permission.
Defamation The tort of defamation aims to protect a person from someone publishing a defamatory statement about them. A defamatory statement is a false statement that adversely affects a person’s reputation. The publication must be such as too injure the plaintiff’s reputation in the mind of a reasonable reader. The law on defamation in Ireland is contained in the Defamation Act 1961. Civil Law and Criminal Law Purpose of the law Civil law deals with the upholding of individual rights. The purpose of a civil law hearing is to determine if those rights were violated.
If there are criminal charges involved, a separate court will deal with these. The person bringing the law suit is the claimant, or the plaintiff, and the person or group accused of wrongdoing is the defendant. A judge, rarely a jury nominally hears the civil cases. On the other hand, Criminal law is mainly designed to protect society as a whole. In criminal law, charges are brought by a government agency, such as the gardi. The government agency becomes the plaintiff. When a trial takes place, the purpose is to determine guilty or innocent.
The jury must reach a unanimous decision and the defendant can be found guilty or not guilty. Who brings the action? The person bringing a civil case to the courts is an individual or a group on their own behalf. The claimant in a criminal case would be a government body. Punishment There is a vast difference in the punishment given to people found guilty in a criminal law then the ones given to someone who is found liable in a civil case. If a person is found guilty of committing a crime, they can receive a fine, a prison sentence or even life. When someone is found liable in a civil case, they cannot be sent to jail.
The normal punishment is an order to pay restitution to the wronged party. They could also have to pay punitive damages if their actions were found to be of malicious intent or gross negligence. Obviously, being found guilty in a criminal court of law can have more serious consequences then a finding of liable in a civil court. Case Study Duty of care is one of the main areas of tort relevant here. Duty of care, is the owner of the chemical manufacturing company, has an obligation to anyone working or visiting the premises to make sure they are protected by harm.
Employers are liable for their employees while they are at work or on a work project. A failure to take such care can result in the defendant being liable to pay damages to the party that is injured or suffers loss as a result of their breach of duty of care. Veracious liability is a form of indirect liability where a person is generally liable for the torts committed by employees while at work and in the course of employment. An employer will usually have financial resources and should be insured to cover liability.
The courts have developed the tort of negligence, which can be described as a civil liability for a failure to take proper care in the circumstances to avoid causing damage or injury which is foreseeable. To prove negligence the plaintiff must prove on a balance of probabilities all of the following elements: The defendant owned the plaintiff a duty of care to avoid causing injury to persons or property, There was a breach of duty by the defendant, Breach of duty caused injury, damage or loss to the plaintiff and, The damages or loss must be a type recognised by the law.
Contributory negligence is claimed when the defendant argues that the plaintiff was partly responsible by failing to exercise responsible for his/her injury. The essential issue is whether the plaintiff / claimant exercised responsible care in respect to his/her own safety. George knows that it’s a breach of his employers work rules to listen to music while on or in the company’s premises. He also was being irresponsible by not wearing the assigned footwear of anti-slip shoes. In Sinnot v. Quinnsworth (1984), the plaintiff was a passenger in a car owned by the defendant, and was injured in a collision with a bus.
Evidence showed that the injuries would have been less serious if the plaintiff had been wearing a seat belt. It was held that the plaintiff’s damages would be reduced by 15%. Judge v Reape  1 I. R. 226 where the plaintiff and the defendant had been in each other’s company for twelve hours during which time the defendant consumed a gallon and three pints of beer and a small whiskey. Judge drove the car and crashed and Reape was severally injured. Reape tried to sue Judge for physical damage but he knew Judge was after drinking so he did not get compensation.