Negligence in Law of Torts

Negligence in Law of Torts

By Duty of care to the plaintiff, we mean a legal duty rather than a moral, religious or social duty. The Plaintiff has to establish that the defendant owed to him a specific legal duty to take care of which he has made a breach. There is no general rule of law defining such duty. It depends on each case whether that duty exists. Lord Atkin propounded the following rule in ‘Donoghue v. Stevenson’ and the same has gained acceptance: "You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbor". He then defined "neighbors" as "persons so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are being called in question." In this case the defendant raised the defense of "Privity of Contract Fallacy" quoting from the case ‘Winterbottom v. Wright(1842) 10 M ) In that case Lord Abinger, C.B., said, "unless we confine the operations of such contracts like this to the parties who entered in to them, the most absurd and outrageous consequences, to which I can see no limit, will ensue." Since an action for tort is quite independent of any contract, there seems to be no reason why for an action in tort a contractual relationship between the parties is insisted. This fallacy was done away with by ‘Donoghue v. Stevenson’ by allowing the consumer to drink an action in tort against the manufacturer, between whom there was no contract.
Whether the defendant owes a duty to the plaintiff or not depends on reasonable foreseeability of the injury to the plaintiff. If at the time of the act or omission the defendant could reasonably foresee injury to the plaintiff he owes a duty to prevent that injury and failure to do that makes him liable. Duty to take care is the duty to avoid doing or omitting to do anything, the doing or omitting to do which may have as its reasonable and probable consequence injury to others, and the duty is owed to those to whom injury may reasonably and probably be anticipated if the duty is not observed.&nbsp.

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