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Foundations of Tort - Essay Example

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Tort is a branch of private law, where a person suffers harm because of someone else’s wrongful acts. Torts may be classified according to the negligence of others or their lack of performing their duties, for instance if the councils do not maintain good roads which then cause accidents. …
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Download file to see previous pages There are also intentional torts where the person being accused harmed the other with the full knowledge of what harm they are causing, for instance defamation and finally there is strict liability tort which covers injuries people suffer from using products, for instance if a person is burnt with hot coffee from a company that did not provide this information, by writing, to the consumers (Butler 2000 162). Torts usually result in compensation of the accusers, rather than the accused facing a jail term or other punitive measures similar to those in criminal offences. Therefore torts are civil suits brought against other people. The plaintiff in a tort has to prove three things in order to be compensated. First, they have to prove that those standing accused have a moral and legal obligation to act in a particular way. Secondly, the plaintiff has to [prove that the accused did not fulfill their obligation. Finally, she or he has to prove that she or he suffered an actual loss because of the accused not fulfilling their duties. Only after these have been established does the plaintiff get punitive or compensatory damages. Torts usually arise from common law principles coupled with legal enactments. The tort rules on compensation in Australia, especially those arising from accidents have been seen as being outdated, therefore inefficient in the way in which they work. In addition, if the party being sued is a government or public entity, there are several possibilities that people could exploit loopholes to get huge and undeserving compensation for mistakes of their own doing. Parties such as local governments in cities and counties could be sued for negligence by their residents should the latter feel that they have suffered a loss, physical harm or otherwise because the local government did not play its part in some sector or service provision, hence the loss suffered. Australia does not have a general system of compensation for victims, except in some very specific cases, for instance in traffic accidents. Thus, there is no cap on the amount of money that should be paid out to victims, leading to huge losses in cases of other forms of ‘negligence’ by the authorities. However, due to the increase in law suits against authorities in Australia, there was a necessity to start reforming laws on lawsuits against authorities. This led to the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation & Compensation Act 2001. However, the laws under this act are still taking a while to be implemented (Muirhead & Hocking 2001, p. 111). The primary focus of the Australian tort law reform focuses more on insurance premiums as opposed to the how deep taxpayers have to dig in their pockets to pay for the numerous lawsuits filed against the authorities. It is becoming a source of concern for many citizens as to the source of money used to compensate victims who think they have been wronged by the negligence of the authorities. A higher dependency on insurance premiums rather than public coffers has seen insurance premiums skyrocket to unbelievable rates. This dependence has been brought about by the authorities using money in the public coffers as a last resort measure to compensate victims of the authorities’ negligence, leaving a bulk of the money going to compensate on the shoulders of insurers. Application of such overreliance on insurers in other sectors where the government was the underwriter, for instance in the provision of medical and health care, has led to the insolvency of some big insurance companies and the withdrawal of others, because of the unprofitability of such undertakings. The result is that, at the end of the day, it is the taxpayers of a country who end up ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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