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Chapter 6. Personal Injury Laws. TEKS Standards:. TEKS 1 – The student identifies the different types of law, courts, and regulations in the judicial system. The student is expected to: 1A – Identify the concepts of civil and criminal law

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chapter 6

Chapter 6

Personal Injury Laws

teks standards
TEKS Standards:
  • TEKS 1 – The student identifies the different types of law, courts, and regulations in the judicial system. The student is expected to:
  • 1A – Identify the concepts of civil and criminal law
  • 1B – Explain the different categories and types of courts and traditional court procedures
  • 1C – Differentiate between business torts and crimes
6 1 offenses against individuals
6.1 Offenses Against Individuals
  • Goals:
  • *Distinguish a crime from a tort
  • *Discuss the elements of a tort
  • *Explain when a person is responsible for another’s tort

What is a tort?

(Offense against an individual)

what s your verdict
What’s Your Verdict?
  • After an exhausting day of skiing, Josephina was driving home near sunset. She dozed off momentarily and crossed the highway dividing lane. She then crashed head-on into John’s truck. Both drivers were seriously injured, and their vehicles were “totaled.”
  • Although Josephina was asleep at the time, has she violated any rights of the other driver?
josephina committed
Josephina committed:
  • *Crime against society – crime of reckless driving. Police will investigate the crime, give her a ticket or possibly arrest her. A county or district attorney will prosecute her in a criminal trial. If convicted, she may be fined or jailed.
  • *Tort by injuring John and his property. John may bring a civil suit against her. He could win compensation for his injuries.
  • Criminally liable because her offense was committed against society, civilly liable for money damages to John for the injury and property.
elements of a tort
Elements of a Tort:
  • Duty (legal obligation to do or not do something)
    • Duty not injury another, duty not interfere with property rights (trespassing), duty not to interfere with economic rights (right to contract)
  • Breach (violation of the duty)
    • Negligence: carelessness
  • Injury (a harm that is recognized by the law) – If act recklessly, but no one is injured, usually no tort
  • Causation (proof that the breach caused the injury)
what s your verdict1
What’s Your Verdict?
  • On a windy autumn day, Mason was burning dry leaves in his backyard. When he went inside to answer a telephone call, flames from the fire leaped to the next-doo neighbor’s fence and then to a tool shed where a small can of gasoline exploded. Soon the neighbor’s house was ablaze and it burned to the ground.
  • Did Mason commit a tort?
  • Yes. (1) he owed a duty to the neighbors not to injure their property; (2) he breached the duty when he left the fire unattended so it spread to the neighbor’s property; (3) the injury occurred when the neighbors’ house was burned; and (4) leaving the fire unattended was a proximate cause of the loss of the fence, the tool shed, and the house.
enrichment activity
Enrichment Activity:
  • Divide students into small groups of no more than five. Have each group write a scenario for one of the following: a tort only; a crime only; a tort and crime. Call for groups to volunteer to present one or more of their scenarios to the whole class.
6 2 intentional torts negligence and strict liability
6.2 Intentional Torts, Negligence, and Strict Liability
  • Goals:
  • *Identify nine common intentional torts
  • *Define negligence and strict liability
common intentional torts
Common Intentional Torts
  • Assault – person intentionally threatens to physically or offensively injure another
  • Battery – shooting, pushing, spitting on, throwing objects at someone,
  • False Imprisonment – Depriving a person of freedom of movement without the person’s consent and without privilege.
    • Examples: Locked in a room, car, or jail; handcuffed
  • Defamation - false statement injures one’s reputation. If it is spoken, it is slander. If it is written, it is libel.
  • Invasion of Privacy – Unwelcome and unlawful intrusion into one’s private life
  • Trespass to land – entry onto the property of another without the owner’s consent
  • Conversion – property is stolen, destroyed, or used in a manner inconsistent with the owner’s rights.
  • Interference with Contractual Relations – A third party encourages a breach of contract between two other parties.
  • Fraud – intentional misrepresentation of an existing important fact (lie)
what is negligence
What is Negligence?
  • Negligence is the most common tort. Intent is not required for this tort, only carelessness. Like the other torts, negligence involves the elements of a duty, breach of the duty, causation, and injury.
6 3 civil procedure
6.3 Civil procedure
  • Goals:
  • *Discuss what damages are available to victims of torts
  • *Explain the various stages of a civil suit
what are damages
What are damages?
  • Damages: monetary award to the injured party to compensate for loss. The purpose is to place the injured party in the same financial position as if the tort had not occurred.
  • Judges always decide issue of law. Jury decides issues of fact. In civil cases, there is not always a right to a trial by jury. When there is no jury, judge decides issues of law and fact.
  • Jury – made up 6 to 12 citizens. In most states, decisions in civil trials do not have to be unanimous.
  • Evidence – anything judge allows to be presented to the jury that helps to prove or disprove the alleged facts.
  • Testimony – statements made by witnesses under oath
  • Witness – someone who has personal knowledge of the facts.
  • Subpoena – written order by the judge commanding a witness to appear in court to give testimony.
  • After the jury for a specific case has been selected, the attorneys make opening statements. These opening statements briefly outline what the plaintiff and the defendant will try to prove. The evidence is then presented to the jury, first by the plaintiff and then by the defendant. Following presentation of evidence, the attorney for each side gives a closing argument. During closing arguments, each attorney summarizes the case, trying to persuade the judge (and the jury if there is one) to favor his or her side. After consultation with the attorneys, the judge then gives instructions to the jury. These instructions tell the jury what rules of law apply to the case and what issues of fact they must decide.
  • In civil action, a majority vote of the jurors is usually required to find for the plaintiff. The jury’s decision is called the verdict.
  • After the verdict has been returned, the judge renders a judgment – the final result of the trial. Normally it will be for a sum of money if the plaintiff wins. If the defendant wins, the judgment will merely be “judgment for the defense.”
  • If either party believes the judge made a mistake, an appeal can be made to a higher court. Examples of judicial error: incorrect instructions to the jury, admission of evidence that should have been rejected, or exclusion of evidence that should have been admitted.
enrichment activity1
Enrichment Activity:
  • Have students role-play a civil court case that involves a tort. Students are to write the scenario complete with choosing the tort, defense, and punishment