Negligence comes from the Latin word Negligentia, which meaning “to fail to pick up.” It is generally knowledge that the tort law of India is based on English common law. As a result, the courts of India develop and modify negligence legislation based on the principles of justice, equality, and good conscience. Negligence entails a lack of intent to inflict the alleged injury. It means that reckless or inappropriate behaviour that does no harm is not actionable, even though it is penalised.
The core principle of negligence is that people should act with reasonable care, taking into account the potential harm that their actions may cause to other persons or property.
Someone who suffers a loss as a result of another’s negligence may be eligible to sue for compensation. Physical hurt, material damage, psychiatric illness, and economic loss are all examples of such losses.
Judge Alderson defines negligence as a violation of a duty caused by the failure to do something that a prudent and reasonable person would do, or by doing something that a prudent and reasonable person would not do.
In tort law, there are basically two ideas about negligence. They are as follows:
- Subjective View – According to Salmond’s theory, negligence refers to a ‘state of mind.’ This state of mind differs from person to person, and the person is only responsible for his purposeful acts. It has a personal component to it. A person cannot be held accountable for carelessness if he has done to the best of his ability.
- Pollock’s Objective Theory – According to this theory, negligence is not a state of mind, but rather a sort of behaviour that a reasonable man might avoid by exercising reasonable care and caution. It is the most widely held belief. This view treats negligence as a distinct tort, putting an end to all debate on the subject.
Austin, Salmond, and Winfield all embrace subjective theory. Pollock, on the other hand, is a supporter of Objective Theory.
The term “negligence” is used to attach blame to the defendant under civil law and, in some cases, criminal law. Negligence has been assigned numerous definitions by eminent judges and jurists. However, in modern tort law, negligence has two meanings:
- Negligence as a mode of committing certain other torts, such as negligently or carelessly committing trespass, nuisance, or defamation; and negligence as a mode of committing certain other torts, such as negligently or carelessly committing trespass, nuisance, or defamation. It refers to the mental component in this case.
- Negligence is treated as a distinct tort. It refers to behaviour rather than a state of mind that poses a risk of producing harm.
Essentials of Tort of Negligence
The following are the basic elements of Tort of Negligence:
Legal Duty of Care: A legal duty of care is a requirement or a constraint on a person’s conduct that he would behave in the same way a reasonable person would have behaved in similar circumstances. To begin, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty of care. A legal obligation is distinct from a moral, social, or religious obligation. The plaintiff must show that the defendant owed him a specific legal duty of care, which he failed to fulfil. There is no general rule of law that defines such a responsibility.
Breach of Duty: A person is considered to have committed carelessness if he owes a duty of care and breaches that duty. Breach of Duty occurs when someone fails to follow the standard of precaution. It is dependent on the facts of the situation. Breach of duty refers to failing to take the necessary precautions in a certain scenario. The reasonable man’s or typically prudent man’s standard of care is used. There is no negligence if the defendant acts in a reasonably prudent manner. The standard is objective, and it refers to what a judge deems to be a reasonable man’s standard.
Consequent Damage: This is a requirement that must be met in order for a tortious act to fall within the umbrella of carelessness. In order for a negligence lawsuit to prevail, the breach of duty must cause harm to the plaintiff. The loss or harm can be both physical and reputational. The plaintiff must additionally establish that the loss suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence is not insignificant. The court is solely responsible for determining the amount of damages. The court follows the rules that govern how the courts operate. It is held that the court must decide and determine every matter that would allow the parties to acquire a final judgement, such as the right measure of damages to be used, the remoteness of damages, and the amount to which the plaintiff is legitimately entitled as damages.
Negligence as a tort emerged from English law and is now recognised as a significant tort in Indian law. Negligence is a civil violation that is dealt with in civil courts. Torts of Negligence are defined as “a mere carelessness” in the ordinary sense and “failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonable man should, by law, have exercised in the given circumstances” in the legal sense. It denotes irresponsible or irrational behaviour. However, just irrational conduct that does no harm is not actionable, even if it is a penal offence. When such behaviour is pursued and causes harm to another person, the person is liable for negligence.
To summarise, the actual defendant is to be compared to a reasonable man in the same circumstances, and whether the test has been broken is a factual matter. The court examines the defendant’s activities to determine if they meet the criteria. If they don’t, the Defendant is in violation of the contract.
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