Negligence

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The Law of exists in order to provide a remedy to people who have suffered as a result of a civil wrong. lt offers what lawyers term ‘redress’ to people who may not be able to take any action in other areas of law, such as Criminal Law or the Law of Contract. Lawyers divide the types of civil wrong or 'torts' into separate categories of wrong, known as the ‘Heads of Tort’. The most important of these are:

• Negligence, which is generally speaking a breach of a broad duty to be careful and not harm others.
to land, which is the tort of going onto someone's land without that person's permission.
which is the tort of interfering with someone's enjoyment of his or her own land. Claims brought under this head of tort are often complaints about noise or unpleasant smells.
which is the tort of publishing or saying something about someone which is not true and which damages that person’s reputation.

In the UK. and the USA most cases in tort are based upon the tort of negligence. ln order to be successful, a claimant who brings a case on the grounds of negligence must prove that the defendant was in breach of his or her duty of . However, not everyone owes this duty under all circumstances. lt is not a ‘blanket' duty. The main principle that governs the existence of this duty is whether or not the harm caused to the claimant was reasonably by the defendant. In other words, would a reasonable person have anticipated or predicted that harm might have occurred as a result of his or her actions. If it is decided by a court that the harm caused could not have been anticipated in this way by the defendant, it may decide that the harm suffered can be described as damage, meaning that there was no real 'proximity' between claimant and defendant. This will mean that the claimant is not entitled to redress.

However, once a court has established that a duty exists, the claimant will be successful if he or she can satisfy the court that the defendant was in breach of it. A defendant can breach his or her duty by some act, or by his or her failure to do something that a reasonable person would have done in the same circumstances, known in law as an . A successful claimant will usually be damages by the court, which is the formal name given to the compensation that the defendant is obliged to pay to the claimant.

These rules are intended not only to compensate victims of carelessness, but also to act as a . If people and Organisations know that a failure to take care may be expensive, they may think very carefully about their duties under the law.