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Tort of negligence

Rights of action in tort are civil rights of action which are available for the recovery of unliquidated damages by persons who have sustained injury or loss from acts or omissions of others in breach of duty or contravention of right imposed or conferred by law, rather than by agreement.

The structure of the modern law of tort reflects its historical origins in the old system of the forms of action. Tort law today is divided into distinct domains, for example trespass, nuisance and negligence, which correspond with particular forms of action in the old law

The same circumstances may give rise to concurrent claims in tort and for other private law wrongs, including breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Remedies in contract and tort may exist concurrently and arise on the same facts. A claimant may rely on the more advantageous remedy unless the remedy in tort is so inconsistent with the contract that it must be taken to be limited or excluded. Damages in tort are assessed on the assumption that the tort was not committed; damages in contract are assessed on the assumption that the contract would be performed.

Liability in tort is normally premised on the fault of the defendant or someone for whom the defendant is responsible. Fault may consist in negligence, which is the failure to exercise that care which the circumstances demand, or the intentional infliction of injury (including injury without actual damage).

Negligence is a specific tort and in any given circumstances is the failure to exercise that care which the circumstances demand. Where there is a duty to exercise care, reasonable care must be taken to avoid acts or omissions which it can be reasonably foreseen may cause harm to the claimant’s interests in so far as they fall within the scope of the duty. The claimant must prove that the defendant’s negligence was a cause of the harm.

A duty of care arises more readily in respect of personal injuries and property damage than in respect of economic loss. Liability in negligence generally arises only in respect of economic losses caused by personal injuries or property damage, and only exceptionally in respect of economic losses not so caused (‘pure economic loss’).

Get in touch with Derby personal injury claim solicitors by e-mailing , or ring us on 01332 518135 .

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