Negligence:

  • Act is unintentional
  • Act is unplanned
  • Act results in an injury
  • Intentional tort: a person deliberately causes harm/loss to another person (trespassing, causing a nuisance, defaming property). It must include –
  • Intent
  • Foreseeability (realization that an accident could occur)

Elements of Negligence

  • Duty of care: a legal obligation to not harm other people or their property
  • Ex. A home owner has a duty of care to keep sidewalks free of snow
  • For there to be an intentional tort, there has to be a breach  in the duty of care – if they have failed to meet the expected standard of care of a reasonable person

Reasonable person

  • A person that is free of disabilities, careful, thoughtful and considerate
  • A person that falls below the standard of care is liable (responsible) for the results of the negligent act
  • 6 yrs and under don’t meet the standards of a reasonable person
  • Causation: must be determined by the plaintiff that the defendant ‘s negligent conduct  caused the harm
  • The plaintiff must also prove that real harm occurred because of the defendant’s negligence

Defences for negligence

  • Contributory negligence: a principle that places as element of negligence between both plaintiff and defendant
  • Was one party more guilty than the other, or were both equally guilty?
  • Voluntary assumption of risk: defendant must prove that the plaintiff knew the risk and made a choice to assume that risk
  • Ex. Going to a baseball game and getting hit in the face with a ball (can’t sue – the plaintiff knew that would be a possibility)
    • Inevitable accident: a result of a fluke accident, unforeseen by all
    • Occupier’s liability: property owners’ responsibility
    • Owes a duty of care to make property safe for visitors, employees, etc.
    • Invitee: being on the property for a reason either than a social visit (students, business patrons, delivery people)
    • licensees : enters property with permission of the occupier (dinner guest)
    • Trespassers: owners have to exact a reasonable standard of care when dealing with trespassers

Occupier’s Liability Act

  • Laws that determine whether a person is an invitee (business/school purpose) or a licensee (dinner guest)
  • Commercial and social host invitees:
  • Restaurant, bar, home owners all have responsibility towards those who are on their premises and then leave, get hurt and/or die, or cause the death of another
  • Ex. Intoxicated patrons: refusing to sell drinks, calling a cab, calling the police

Motor Vehicle Negligence

  • Can lead to criminal and civil action
  • Both parties can be placed with the burden of proving negligence
  • Passengers that know the driver is intoxicated cannot sue for damages

Professional Negligence

  • Doctors, engineers, architects, accountants, lawyers – have to exercise a reasonable standard of care
  • The more specialized the person, the higher the standard of care is

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