Good Case Study About Law Of Obligations

Type of paper: Case Study

Topic: Vehicles, Disaster, Accident, Barrett, Law, Tort Law, Internet, Car Accident

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/01/04

Law of Obligations

In the Patels’ case, just like with any other car accident remedies for damages would be accessed through the premise of negligence, meaning whether the driver was at fault. There are four basic elements to any claim of negligence, whether it be in a car accident or not. These are duty, breach, causation and damages. Therefore, let us examine the facts of the Patel case and establish if they have a case to sue for relief under negligence law. It would appear at face value they do.
Although the state is listed where this accident occurred and that would certainly affect how the case was process, in every state every driver is expected to operate a motor vehicle with proper care or in a non-negligent fashion. This means they are not supposed to hurt other drivers or be responsible for any sort of property damage. This is a basic circumstance that is taught when a driver first begins their education on the rules of the road. Therefore, a driver is supposed to maintain appropriate speeds, obey traffic signs and lights and generally engage in behavior that will not cause any type of injury. In the Patels’ situation, Mrs. Barrett did not stop at a red light and hit their car. As she was undoubtedly ticketed for the traffic violation, Mrs. Barrett would then be found responsible for what transpired. She was definitely negligent and caused the
under the law. This means she did breach her duty of care, which means she is supposed to uphold the rules of the road. This is the second element of a car accident negligence claim.
The other two elements of a car accident negligence claim are “closely related” Nolo states “causation comes in two varieties: cause-in-fact and proximate cause.” Cause-in-fact pertains to the actual breach of duty is the result of a particular action or behavior. In this case it would be Mrs. Barrett running the red light. If Mrs. Barrett cannot prove there was a valid reason for her to violate traffic law, then cause-in-fact is clear. Mrs. Barrett may also be responsible for proximate cause because although her behavior may not have directly caused something, the only reason it came about was because she ran the red light. For example, the engine of the car would not have caught on fire, Mrs. Patel would not be having flashbacks, the PC would not be having flashbacks and Mr. Patel would be able to week for four weeks.
As it is apparent that Mrs. Barrett was negligent, the Patels and the PC can proceed to recover damages in two ways: a lawsuit against Mrs. Barrett and possibly her employer if she was working at the time of the accident or a settling out of court through Mrs. Barrett’s insurance company. Damages are also separated into two categories: economic and non-economic. According to Nolo, “economic damages are quantifiable and non-economic damages are not.”
In this case there are numerous damages. The Patels car started on fire and probably is no longer drivable, which they could also explore the option of suing the vehicle manufacturer because there may have been some defect that caused the engine to combust from impact when it should not have done so. There is also pain and suffering, which Mr. Patel endured from the physical injuries he sustained in addition to the depression and overall lethargy he was experiencing. Mrs. Patel’s flashbacks are a result of the horrible thing she witnessed and the fear she felt when thinking her husband and daughter may not be alive. The officer’s flashbacks are due to the situation he had encountered at work and should be pursued through his employer not directly through Mrs. Barrett as a defendant in a case. Mr. and Mrs. Patel would also be entitled to lost wages from time missed at work, a new vehicle or to have their vehicle repaired, all their medical bills paid for and money set aside for future medical treatment if that is deemed necessary.
How the Patels would pursue these claims or if they would choose to would depend directly on the state in which they reside. Each state has its own rules and regulations on car accident negligence claims so that would determine how the Patels would proceed. For example, some states are what is called no-fault when it comes to car accident negligence cases. This means Mr. Patel would file what is referred to as a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or a no-fault
claim where he would receive a pay-out from the insurance company to compensate his lost wages and medical bills.
In some states, the regulations on car accident negligence claims require the payment of damages based on “comparative negligence” theories. This means the damages are awarded based on what the percentage of fault or negligence is assigned to the defendant or Mrs. Barrett in this case. According to Findlaw, “this situation is often referred to as “appointment of fault” or allocation of fault.” For instance, if Mr. Patel sues Mrs. Barrett and total damages are established by the court as $100,000 and the judge finds Mrs. Barrett was only 80 percent of the cause of the accident because Mr. Patel was also not exercising full care, she would not be responsible for $20,000 of the damages, Mr. Patel would. This type of circumstance occurs in states that apply a “pure” theory of negligence. Other states have modified comparative negligence regulations and law suits were the plaintiff is at least 50 percent at fault.
The Patels’ case appears rather cut and dried, but there are various factors still at work that would determine what types of damages they could pursue and in what fashion. For example, it might not be possible for Mrs. Patel to pursue any remedy for her flashbacks. If she was not a passenger in the vehicle, she may not be able to receive any funds for medical treatment for her after affects from the accident. That may only apply to Mr. Patel and the baby as they were the ones in the vehicle when Mrs. Barrett hit them. Also, there may be specific caps placed on the amount of damages the Patels can pursue. Again, that would depend on the state in which the accident occurred. As far as the PC and his instances of flashbacks, that is something he must pursue with his employer. While Mrs. Barrett may be the proximate cause of his condition, it is also directly related with another traffic accident he witnessed while on the job. His employment would be responsible for treating him, unless they wanted to take the matter up with Mrs. Barrett. Otherwise, his recovery would be dependent on his work agency.


“Comparative Negligence” Web. n.d. Retrieved from
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Owen, David G. (2007) “The Five Elements of Negligence” The Hofstra Law Review” Vol 35, No. 4, 2007. 1671-1686.
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Winfield, Percy H. “The History of Negligence in the Law of Torts.” L.Q. Review. Vol 42, No. 184, 1926. Web. Retrieved from

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