United States Law/Tort/Additional material
Tort is a hard to define term.
Tort Law is a Blend of Common Law and Statutory Law
Common law (judge-made law) It is primarily state law and it may differ from state to state Modified and supplemented by statute Modified, for example, by statutory limitations on tort recovery (e.g., caps on damages) Supplemented, e.g., by Dram Shop and Wrongful Death Acts
Tort Law Replaced by Statutory Compensation Schemes
Sometimes tort law may be substantially limited or eliminated by statutory law, e.g. Workers’ compensation laws No-fault automobile insurance laws These tort reforms are limited, however Problems in defining the “compensable event”
The purpose of tort law?
Corrective justice (moral responsibility). Impose liability on persons who are at “fault” Achieve appropriate compensation for injured persons
Tort Law: Relationship to Criminal Law and Contract Law
Torts may arise out of conduct that is also subject to criminal penalties. A person may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties. Torts may a rise out of a breach of contract (e.g., breach of an express warranty that results in personal injury)
Torts and Fault
Why is Fault Required? If fault is not required, then the tort system becomes a state-financed compensation scheme. We would not be able to bear the expense of such a system.
Intentional Torts - some examples
Fault typically triggers the tort system.
Battery and assault Intentionally hitting or threatening to hit someone Intentional infliction of emotional distress Intentionally causing someone severe emotional distress Defamation Injuring someone’s reputation
Fraud and misrepresentation
Intentional interference with contractual relations
Intentional Torts – Additional Examples
Invasion of privacy Intentionally intruding in a private place or publicizing private facts about another person Fraud and misrepresentation Intentionally misstating the truth, where another person relies on the misrepresentation and incurs damage
Negligence - examples
Failing to exercise reasonable care in driving your car Failing to keep your property in a reasonably safe condition Failing to exercise reasonable care in manufacturing products Professional negligence, e.g. Medical or legal malpractice
Strict liability - examples
Abnormally dangerous activities (e.g., dynamite blasting or storage of toxic chemicals)
Sale of defective products