CRIMINAL: someone does something
Wrong against all of society
CIVIL: someone does something wrong=TORT
Wrong against individuals
Plaintiff seeks to win a judgment
Sue for damages (usually money)
Illegal activity can be both a crime and a tort
Ex: Breaking into a home
Crime: prosecuted by state for burglary
Tort: sue for monetary damages
Who should be liable?
Responsible for harm caused
How much should the responsible person have
Legal responsibility for harm
Failure to exercise reasonable care (duty)
toward someone or their property.
Does something s/he is not supposed to do.
Fails to do something s/he is supposed to do.
Does something s/he should do, or is allowed
to do, but does it in a careless way that
(90% of torts are settled out of court)
Intentional Wrong=person acts with the intent
of injuring a person, his/her property or both.
Ali is mad at Tom so she intentionally smashes a
window of Tom’s car
Lucy writes a letter telling her friends that Andrew is
a drug addict even though she knows he is not.
Negligence=unintentional; failure to use
reasonable care and causes harm.
Strict Liability=Defendant is engaged in an
activity so dangerous that there is a serious
risk of harm even if s/he acts with utmost
Owners of dangerous animals.
People who engage in highly dangerous
Manufacturers and sellers of
Common Law: Law made by judges through court
Statutes: Written Laws
Standard of Proof is a Preponderance of the
To win, more than 50% of the weight of the evidence
must be in the plaintiff’s favor
Individuals, groups of individuals,
organizations, businesses, units of government.
Case is filed where the defendant resides or
Deep pockets: Try to sue a defendant who has
enough money to pay for the damages
You slip on a towel left on the floor by the janitor of
a restaurant. Who do you sue? Janitor or owner?
If you can prove that the child acted
unreasonably for a person of that age and
experience (usually sue parents—have to prove
that they were negligent in failing to supervise
Children vs parents
Husband vs wife
Members of Congress
For acts carried out within the scope of their
Many parties form a “class” and bring lawsuit
Whole town gets sick from contaminated drinking
Attorney does not charge hourly rate.
Receives portion (usually 30-40%) of recovery.
Only gets paid if you win.
Car Liability Insurance
Contract stating you pay a premium(payment) each
month and insurance company will pay for damages
caused by insured and even representation by
Liability Insurance by doctors, lawyers and
Protect against malpractice; lawsuit against
professional for negligent practices
Liability insurance for
Manufacturers: protection against lawsuits brought
by customers who are injured using the
Homeowners & Renters: Covers loss and damages
Liability Insurance: Required; pays for injuries
to other people and property if you are
responsible for an accident.
Limit on injuries per person
Limit to total injuries to all persons involved in the
Limit on property damage per accident
You would be liable for the amount left after
Your medical expenses resulting from accident
Medical expenses of passengers
No matter who is at fault
Pays for damage to your own car: pays up to the
value of the car
Even if insured person causes the accident
Deductible: Amount you will pay for repairs before
Protects against damages to your car from causes
other than collisions
Vandalism, fire, theft
Un-insured motorist coverage:
Protects you from other drivers who do not have
Pay up to a certain amount for injuries you receive in
an accident, regardless of who was at fault
Different from liability-you are at fault
Compensation for injuries sustained on the job
Receive portion of salary during recovery
Waive the right to sue
Intoxication of employee
Refusal to follow safety procedure
Exclusive remedy: Only compensation for on
the job injuries