Law Paper on How Important Tort Liability is to Business

How Important Tort Liability is to Business

In the legal spheres, tort is a term used to denote a civil wrongdoing for which an aggrieved party may seek legal redress. Upon consideration of the facts, the extent of injury afflicted, and the circumstances at hand, a judge may award damages to the injured party (Abbott, 2018). Tort law is dependent on common sense, and thus, used to ensure that people coexist reasonably with each other. In the business spheres, parties may be aggrieved by a company’s actions or representatives such as directors or employees. Consequently, they may sue the company leading to the award of hefty damage to third parties, thus, costing companies a fortune in terms of money and reputation (Robbennolt & Hans, 2016). Understanding how tort liability works is, therefore, an essential aspect in any business. In connection with this aspect, this paper discusses the importance of tort liability in the business setting.

For a society to exist peacefully, each member needs to fulfill some duties towards the others. Such responsibilities may refer to respecting others’ private properties and spaces, not disturbing others, being diligent when dealing with fellow human beings, and treating others fairly. People expect us to fulfill these duties (Henderson Jr, 2017). Similarly, others have an obligation towards us, and hence we have the right to expect them to perform such duties. Some of the torts may not be explicitly written. However, they become part of the legal system by acceptance by the masses and common law.

In my experience in the business world, the most common cases of business negligence entail the failure to conduct due diligence during the employee recruitment process. Negligent hiring and retention may lead to severe injury or loss to third parties such as the customers. If a business does not conduct an appropriate background check on its employees when hiring, the company may be held liable for the actions they cause (Robbennolt & Hans, 2016). For instance, a restaurant is expected to verify and perform a background check before hiring a chief chef. If an appointed chef continuously prepares food that causes health problems to customers, the restaurant can be sued for breach of the common duty of care. When seeking legal redress, the aggrieved parties may argue that the restaurant did not conduct basic and reasonable care by not performing a background check. In the case of such a restaurant, negligence will be deemed to have occurred if no background check was conducted. However, if there were reasonable efforts made to take precautionary measures when hiring the chef, the restaurant will be deemed to have taken a duty of care, thus avoiding liability. As indicated in the Donoghue vs. Stevenson case, a distributor is under a legal obligation to take reasonable care to ensure that articles of food or medicine sold to the consumers are free from defects that may lead to injury or health impairments. In conjunction with the elements that constitute an act of negligence, hence a tort, an aggrieved customer must show that an injury or a loss resulted from consuming the food purchased from the restaurant.

One key aspect of the law of tort is negligence. Primarily, the term refers to the failure to exercise the ethically ruled or appropriate care in a given circumstance. If one party fails to use a reasonable duty of care, it may lead to harm on one or more parties. In the business world, negligence has become a critical feature in many litigations (Abbott, 2018). If a party suffers a loss as a result of others’ negligence, he or she has the right to sue for damages. Example of such loss may take the form of harm to property, economy, physical injury, or psychological impairment.

In many jurisdictions, negligence is assessed based on some key elements, which constitute the tort; duty, breach, damages, and causation. First, there must be a duty to exercise reasonable care. Legal liability to a plaintiff by the defendant is based on the failure to fulfill a responsibility recognizable by the law. As ruled out in the Haynes vs. Harwood case, one has to contemplate loses that may occur as a result of a particular act. Upon the establishment of the existence of the duty of care, the next matter is to establish whether there was a breach of duty. Testing a violation of duty applies to both objective and subjective means. For instance, a defendant who knowingly exposes another to a significant risk of loss is in breach of the duty of care.

Concerning causation, the universal principle is that for a liability to be deemed to accrue from an act of negligence, it must be proved that there was a connection between neglect and the loss. This is to mean that the inflicted injury must be linked directly to a party’s failure to fulfill the duty of care. The cause may either be factual (actual) or proximate (legal). Lastly, it must be proved that, as a result of the act of omission or negligence, an injury or damage was suffered (Henderson Jr, 2017). If no loss was caused, damages cannot be awarded even if it is clear that there was an act of negligence.

To minimize business tort liability, a business may take some steps. For instance, a company should ensure that it does a thorough background check on all its employees on matters that may affect third parties. This may include doing a check on criminal records and health background (Robbennolt & Hans, 2016). The business can also put in place proactive measures of preventing and addressing losses that may accrue from negligent behaviors by company representatives. Such actions may include informing the public to report any suspicious acts by the chefs and give feedbacks.

 

 

 

References

Abbott, R. (2018). The Reasonable Computer: Disrupting the Paradigm of Tort Liability. Geo. Wash. L. Rev.86, 1.

Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562, HL (1932).

Haynes v Harwood [1935] 1 KB 146, CA (1935).

Henderson Jr, J. A. (2017). Learned Hand’s Paradox: An Essay on Custom in Negligence Law. Calif. L. Rev.105, 165.

Robbennolt, J. K., & Hans, V. P. (2016). The psychology of tort law. In Advances in Psychology and Law (pp. 249-274). Springer, Cham.