Everybody in the country owns some legal right. As an individual, the law is imposed as a duty and we are subjected to respect the legal rights bestowed on others and any person who interferes with someone else's enjoyment of their legal rights is said to have committed a tort. The underlying principle of the law tort is that every individual has certain interests which are protected by law if any of the interests is caused damage to the legally protected interest of the tort; the individual is liable for the wrongdoing. However, In India, the law of tort is still in the process of development and uncodified.
This is an act under Tort and tried in civil courts where the relief is to usually gain compensation. Although some of the torts are of the nature that can be tried in criminal courts, where the main objective is to rectify the wrong-doing and putting the victim the position where he would have been in if the wrong has not been committed. Hence, the amount of damages is calculated and compensated to the victim if it is proved that the wrongdoing is indeed committed.
2. Concept of Injury:
In this, the injuries and damages do not sit well which mean a person might have suffered damage but there is injury caused to his legal rights. In cases like no action under tort can be initiated. The best example for this principle is - If a person starts similar kind of business next to your business and you lose half of your customers to him, you do suffer an injury but your legal right is not affected and hence you cannot act legally on this person.
3. The burden of Proof:
The individual/plaintiff should prove the following to establish the commission of the tort- • Existence of duty of the defendant towards the plaintiff • Breach of this duty • Injury caused to the plaintiff because of the breach of this duty and • Damages suffered by the plaintiff due to such breach In these kinds of circumstances, it is not always possible to prove all the elements. In situations like this, the proof that the defendant controlled the situation or the instrument that caused injury can be submitted. When a situation like this exists, it reduces the plaintiff's burden to prove.
4. Vicarious Liability:
If the defendant has committed a tort while acting under the supervision of his seniors or direct orders, his seniors are vicariously held liable for his actions. A famous example of this liability could be a food delivery person causing an accident while rushing to deliver food. In circumstances like this, the company is equally helping liable for the wrongdoing.
5. Contributory Negligence:
If the plaintiff also contributed to the wrongdoing, then it is said that the plaintiff has contributed to the negligence tort and is not eligible for compensation. For example, if a person touches a coffee machine and burns himself despite seeing the warning sign that it is hot, he cannot sue the restaurant for his negligence. The concept of volenti non fit injuria comes into play too. This means that if a person voluntarily places himself into such position knowing that it will harm him and cause damages, he is not liable to claim for his damages later in case he is injured. In such cases, it is taken under consideration that the person has voluntarily accepted the risk and cannot hold anyone else responsible or liable at a later stage.
6. Joint and Several Liability in Tort:
This principle is established well and speaks about when an injury is caused due to two or more peoples' wrongdoing; all such people are held liable to pay compensation to the damage caused. The individual can also seek compensation from just one defendant. The principle was asserted in the case of UP State Road Transport versus Smt. Rajani & Ors 2007 (a) AWC 1867.
7. Self Defence:
The defendant can claim defence that he acted in order to defend himself or his property from the danger. This principle is usually accepted by the courts, except for exceptional cases like that before the Supreme Court of Iowa, X versus Y 183 N.W.2d 657 (Iowa 1971). Mr. X set up an automatic gun trap in an empty house to attack the robbers in the case of a break-in. Mr. Y broke into an empty house and was shot. Mr Y later sued for the assault. Mr X defended himself by saying the act was purely done to protect his house. However, at the supreme court of Iowa, he was held for the usage of gun for defence in an empty house and just thus, unjustified the defence.
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