Thinking Citizen Blog — What Are Torts? Who Cares? Who Should?

Thinking Citizen Blog — Saturday is Justice, Freedom, Law, and Values Day

Today’s Topic: What Are Torts? Who Cares? Who Should?

What should every fifth grader know about torts? eighth grader? high school graduate? college graduate? why? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

TORTS ARE “PRIVATE WRONGS” CRIMES ARE “PUBLIC WRONGS”

1. So what’s the difference? And what about “double jeopardy” — I thought you couldn’t be tried for the same crime twice?

2. How then was OJ Simpson tried twice — once for the crime, another time for the “tort” of the same act?

3. Is this a “just system”? Is there a better one?

NB: In a tort case, the victim, not a district attorney brings the suit. In a tort case, the standard of guilt or innocence is preponderance of the evidence, not beyond the shadow of a doubt. In a tort case, no jail terms.

THREE KINDS OF TORTS: Intentional (think OJ), Negligence, Strict Liability

1. There are few intentional tort cases because most victims of crimes are “judgment proof” because they are poor.

2. Negligence: fault must be demonstrated.

3. Strict liability: no fault necessary as in product liability cases.

DEFENSES IN NEGLIGENCE CASES, TORT REFORM

1. “Contributory negligence” — the victim was also to blame — as in a traffic accident. This is a bar to recovery. Many jurisdictions have abolished this in favor of “comparative negligence” where fault is split between the parties.

2. “Assumption of risk” — can be explicit (as in a liability waiver) or implied.

3. Two areas of “tort reform” are reigning in extreme and capricious jury awards and medical malpractice suits.

NB: “In a study published in 2005 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 93% of physicians surveyed reported practicing defensive medicine, or “[altering] clinical behavior because of the threat of malpractice liability.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tort

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contributory_negligence

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assumption_of_risk

A LINK TO THE LAST THREE YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED BY THEME:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to justice, freedom, the law or basic values. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to justice, freedom, the law, or basic values. Or just some random justice-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart.

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Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.

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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.