Torts, Product Liability and Criminal Law

Torts, Product Liability and Criminal Law



Torts, Product Liability and Criminal Law

The areas of law that are applicable in this case are the tort of negligence and vicarious liability. Negligence is departure from the reasonable standard of care, which leads to the creation of unreasonable risk and harm to other people. The risk must be foreseeable and this means that a reasonable person in such a situation would recognize the risk and take measures to avoid it. For negligent cases to be successful, plaintiffs have to prove four elements. He has to show that the defendant owed him a duty of care and that he breached that duty. He also has to show that he suffered recognizable injury caused by the defendant’s breach. Injuries can include invasion of protected interests, losses, harm, or wrongs (Clarkson et al., 2010).

Courts often reward compensatory damages. However, they may consider awarding punitive damages if they feel that the defendant’s behavior was grossly negligent. Causation is a necessary element in the tort of negligence. Courts determine whether there was causation in fact and whether the act was the proximate cause of the injury. The but for test is used to determine causation in fact. This essentially means that the act would not have occurred but for the defendant’s actions. Under the proximate requirement, the connection between the defendant’s action and the injury has to be strong enough (Clarkson et al., 2010).

Ruth owed a duty of care to the Jim and to the society. She breached this duty when she parked her car carelessly and she did not bother to consider what would happen if something were to happen to it. The duty of care requires someone to conduct himself in a reasonable manner. Failure to do so leads to the person becoming liable for any losses incurred. The risk has to be foreseeable. Ruth performed three actions that had foreseeable risks. She parked a car on a steep slope in neutral and she failed to engage the breaks. The foreseeable risk in this case is that the car will roll down the slope. The defendant can prove the causation in fact using the but for test. Thus, but for Ruth parking her car carelessly, it rolled down the slope, hit the electric line, and ignited the gas fire. The fire reached the gas station and it caused an explosion. The fire was the main cause of the accident and the station was not responsible for it. Another element is that the plaintiff has to show that he was injured. Jim was in deed injured when part of the station’s structure fell on him.

In some cases, courts can find people liable even if they did not cause the plaintiff’s injuries, as in the case of vicarious liability. Under this liability, employers are usually held responsible for the actions of their employees. Flowers Inc. has a legal relationship with Ruth as she is employed there. The company uses the delivery trucks to deliver the flowers. However, in this case, the supervisor asked her to use her own car. Employers are responsible for the actions that the employees commit under the scope of employment. A person can argue against negligent supervision or negligent hiring. In addition, one has to consider whether the employee was acting as an employee at the time of the act (Best & Barnes, 2007). Ruth was conducting her company’s affairs when the accident occurred. Therefore, her employer can he held liable. Considering vicarious liability and the elements of tort of negligence, Jim can recover damages from Ruth and Flowers Inc.

Works Cited:

Best, A., & Barnes, W. D. (2007). Basic tort law: Cases, statutes, and problems. New York, NY: Aspen Publishers Online

Clarkson, K., Miller, R., & Cross, F. (2010). Business law: Text and cases: Legal, ethical, global, and corporate environment. New York, NY: Cengage Learning

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