Duty of Care
A duty of care is an obligation that a person behaves towards other people with cautiousness, consideration, awareness and good sense that a fairly sensible person in the same situation would. If an individual acts in a manner that does not meet these basic requirements, then their actions are considered negligent.
In a car accident case, the existence of duty is usually accepted without much dispute because drivers have a basic duty to operate their automobiles in a non-negligent manner that would not cause harm to other motorists by observing traffic laws, traffic signs, staying within speed limits, and so forth. If a driver is proven to cause an accident because they were not cautious on the road, their actions may be considered to be negligent. Demon’d had a duty of care towards Hero in this case.
Breach of Duty of Care
An appellant is liable for negligence when they breach the duty that they owe to a complainant. An appellant contravenes such a duty by failing to apply reasonable care in performing the duty. Demon’d operated his car in a negligent manner that could cause harm to another person by running a red light at 70 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone. As a motorist, he breached a basic duty of care that he owed to fellow motorists and other foreseeable persons. As such, he breached his duty of care to Hero because his negligence causes him to cause a car accident where he t-boned Hero.
When rules of law apportioning responsibility for damages caused are developed in rulings and court decisions, the term ‘cause’ is frequently used (Honoré). The idea that causal relationship between agency and damage must be ascertained is however mostly implied even if the term is not used (Honoré).
Cause in Fact
Cause in Fact defines a breach of a duty to care being the definite, direct cause of a specific outcome. In this case, the cause of Hero’s most current spinal injury that got him paralyzed, that led to a significant increase in his hospital bill was not caused by Demon’d’s negligence, but by him bending to pick a packet of crackers at Publix.
Proximate cause is the ‘predictability’ of injuries. This means that the complainant’s injuries must be a predictable result of the appellant’s behavior. If the injuries are unrelated to the appellant’s actions, then the complainant will not get compensated. The appellant cannot be held responsible for injuries that are unforeseeable and do not have a practical link to their behavior. Proximate cause is also defined as ‘but for causation.’ It means that even if a certain violation may not have been the main cause of harm, the harm would not have happened but for the violation.
In this case, Hero’s spinal injury was not directly caused by Demon’d. His spine snapped when he bent down to pick crackers at Publix. But the doctor confirmed that his injury occurred due to past damage caused by the car accident where Demon’d rammed his car into Hero’s due to his negligence and also the explosions in Baghdad. While Demon’d did not directly cause Hero’s most recent spinal injury, further damage to his spine and resultant additional hospital bills would not have happened if the accident did not occur in the first place. Hence, Demon’d is liable for damages by virtue of proximate cause.
Damages is the financial compensation that is granted by a judicial decision in a civil case to a person that sustained injuries as a result of the wrongful acts of another person.
Damages make an effort to measure in monetary terms the level of harm that a petitioner has suffered due to the defendant’s actions. The purpose of damages is to bring back the injured person to the state that they were before they suffered injury.
Compensation for future pain is allowed when there is a reasonable possibility that the plaintiff will go through more pain and suffering. However, they are not allowed to claim compensation for future pain and suffering that is tentative. Hero’s spinal injuries are quite predictable given the doctor’s report that his latest injury was caused by the injuries he suffered from the previous car accident. The jury usually has expansive discretion to grant damages for pain and suffering. Their judgment can only be overturned if the jury is considered to have abused their freedom to decide.
Psychological pain and suffering can be taken into consideration when evaluating Hero’s compensatory damages. Psychological pain and suffering pain include trauma, grief, anxiety, and so forth, which would reasonably be typical consequences if one suffered a spinal injury that threatened paralysis and caused financial strain. Hero could also claim compensatory damages of a monetary nature because of loss of earnings.
Considering that Hero at the time when he was injured had a previous spinal injury that made him more predisposed to injury than a healthy person, Demon’d is liable for all his injuries as a result of his negligence. Injuries suffered by a complainant due to the appellant’s negligence are deserving of compensation even if the injuries were more severe than would have been incurred by an individual of sound health in the same condition (Silin).
If a plaintiff, before the accident, had a specific pre-existing impairment, and if the defendant caused more injury which worsened the plaintiff’s specific injury because of negligence, they are entitled to complete compensation from the defendant (Silin). If the pre-existing injury exacerbated separately from the defendant’s negligent incident, or if the plaintiff experienced more harm in that it was not caused by the defendant’s negligent actions, the defendant is not to be held liable for such further aggravation or issues (Silin).
But, the defendant has to prove by a relevance of the evidence that the complainant’s injuries are in part or completely inferable to causes separate of the accident (Silin). If the defendant fails to prove that the accident is partly or completely independent, then the complainant is entitled to complete compensation for all of their injuries associated with their condition (Silin). In this case, Demon’d has to prove that Hero’s injuries at Publix were completely or partially unrelated to the accident he caused due to negligence. However, from the case, it is clear that Hero’s injuries are in part linked to the accident. In that case, Demon’d liable for his injuries and should compensate him.
- Honoré, Antony. “Causation in the Law.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2010. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
- Silin, Steven. “Representing Eggshell Plaintiffs and Others with Preexisting Conditions or Injuries Post Lovely.” Berman & Simmons Trial Attorneys. 2016. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.