Negligent Tort Research Paper Samples
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Everyday millions of Americans rely on products to assist in their daily routines. Ranging from the food that is purchased and consumed, the cars driven from location to location to the products we utilize to aid in our every day living are all items bought and used daily without any thought of them causing harm. Consumers trust the products to be safe and tested for use prior to being accessible for purchase. For many items, their safety is a reality; however on the other hand consumers are not made aware of hazards and safety concerns until someone is essentially harmed.
On January 30, 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled Strollers by Britax due to partial fingertip amputation hazard. Recall number: 14-098 is connected to the B-Agile, B-Agile Double and BOB Motion strollers. The hazards associated with the stroller’s are specifically related to the stroller’s folding mechanism. The partial amputation of the fingertips, breaking or severe lacerations to consumers can occur if they simultaneously pull or tug on the release strap while pressing the release button.("Strollers recalled due to amputation hazard," 2014)Approximately 216,000 strollers that were manufactured in China and sold in both the United States and in Canada from March 2011 – June 2013 were recalled. ("Britax strollers recalled," 2014). Consumers could purchase the strollers online and at major retailers as many consumers were may have been in preparation of welcoming new babies to their families.
According to Sequist, “strict liability is a recently developed theory in law that holds manufactures, wholesalers, and retailers liable for defects in the design or manufacturing of products that render such products unreasonably dangerous to the intended users” (Sequist, 2012, Chapter 8).Because of the laws that have been put in place to help protect the consumer, the Britax manufacturer would be liable for negligence even if the product had not been recalled and harm was inflicted upon the consumer. However, negligence of a manufacturer could stem from a lack of proper product testing, a failure to inform the consumer of warnings and dangers or perhaps a failure to carry out effective research prior to launch, or even the failure to recall product if apparent danger exist after the product has launched(Davies, 2014).
If a product brings harm to or causes injury to consumers and the company falsely represents that product they can be liable for a negligent tort. (Mayr, 2013, para. 1)The key elements that Seaquist (2012) suggest in order to determine negligence are defending the defendant’s duty of care, breach of expected duty of care evidence, verification that the plaintiff received harm or injuries caused by the breach, and lastly if physical or emotional harm was suffered by the plaintiff. In the case of strollers recalled by Britax due to the partial fingertip amputation hazard, they company is considered negligent.
Duty of care
In practice, the law seeks to protect consumers from defective products which may prove to be harmful to the consumers (Eliot, 2001). The duty of care, for instance, gives an obligation that requires individuals to adhere to certain standards of reasonable care while producing products to prevent possible foreseeable harm to other people. Any consumer with the intention of proceeding with any action of negligence should first establish the duty of care that existed. In the case of Britax Strollers, the general perception is that the company is under a legal obligation to protect the consumers from any possible harm. Had the product not been recalled, then the producers would have been held liable for any injury to the consumers.
Standard of care
Under the law of torts, standard of care is defined as the degree of caution and prudence that is expected or required of a person under a duty of care. Despite this universal definition, the requirements of such a standard depend on the uniqueness of the circumstances (Eliot, 2001). Had the products not been recalled from circulation, there is no doubt the producers would have faced the law as regards of failing to ensure this. In one way or the other, Britax Strollers failed to meet the standard of care required to protect the consumers. Had this been taken into account, then such defective products could have not found their way into the market.
Breach of the duty of care
In business law and tort, a breach of the duty of care has dire consequences to the producer or manufacturer of the commodities in question (Eliot, 2001). As already discussed, manufacturers are guided by the law as regards the standard of care expected from them. They have a duty of ensuring that the products they manufacture meet the basic requirements so as not to harm the consumers. It is debatable as to whether Britax Strollers met this duty, hence the possibility of facing an action against them had they not recalled the defective products. The fact that such products had the potential to inflict injuries to the consumers means that the duty of care as defined by the law was breached.
For the purposes of tort law, actual causation refers to any factor, absence of which the result being questioned could not happen. This means that the factor plays a significant role breaching the duty that is laid by the law. In modern time, actual causation is commonly determined by the but-for test. In the scenario in question, it is evident that the partial fingertip amputation hazard is the actual cause. The Motion Strollers meant that many consumers could suffer by simultaneously tugging or pulling the release strap while pressing the release button.
A proximate cause in law refers to an event that is related to a recognizable injury which can be argued to be the injury’s cause. Proximate causation, to some extent, gives a legal limit to the cause-in-fact. Applying this definition to the events in question therefore mean that the consumers are to be blamed for the injuries sustained. To some extent, this seems to give the manufacturers a defense as they will use the argument in a court of law. Negligence from the part of the consumer is highly taken into account when employing this test. As such, Britax may be in a better position.
In law of torts, actual injury refers to the specific harm suffered. Such harm can be in form of emotional pain, physical suffering or loss of dignity and reputation (Eliot, 2001). The actual injury is crucial for the courts when determining the amount of compensation to be rewarded to the victim. In the case of Britax Strollers, the actual injury entails partial amputation of the fingertips of the consumers and severe lacerations to them. These injuries are connected to the negligence of the manufacturers who failed to ensure that the standard f care was achieved before producing the products.
Defenses to negligence
The defendant’s liability can be mitigated using some o he common defenses that are available. The most common defense to negligence is contributory negligence. Under this defense, the defendant establishes that the plaintiff was negligent to a certain extent, leading to such injuries. Courts look analyze whether the conduct of the plaintiff is below the necessary standard essential for their protection. The second defense to defendants is comparative negligence. Although this defense is not as common as the contributory negligence defense, it has been used in a number of cases successfully.
There are several consumer protection statutes that are relevant to the matter in question. For instance, the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 plays a major role in determining such matters (United States, 2012). According to the act, manufacturers who expose consumers to injuries by using their products should face the law. The Act also provides for the recall of products from circulation whenever there is information that such goods are defective and injurious. This Act can be used in the case of Britax Strollers.
Britax strollers being recalled due to finger amputation hazard. (2014). Retrieved from www.civiljusticemagazine.com/2014/02/06/britax-strollers-being-recalled-due-to-finger-amputation-hazard/
Davies, A. (2014). Defective products and product recall issues for businesses. Retrieved from www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=ab470c8-eefq-4383-83d3-4c1016940ec9
Elliott, C., & Quinn, F. (2001). Tort law. Harlow: Longman.
Mayr (2013). Negligent Tort. Retrieved from http://mayrsom.com/2013/08/23/negligent-tort/
Sequist, G. (2012). Business Law for Managers. In Business Law for Managers (pp. -). : . . http://dx.doi.org/
Strollers recalled by Britax due to partial fingertip amputation hazard. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Strollers-Recalled-by-Britax/#remedy
United States. (2012). H.R. 3993, the Calling Card Consumer Protection Act of 2009: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, first session, December 3, 2009. Washington: U.S. G.P.O.
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