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Negligence: Environmental Law


When the duty of care that someone owes another is breached, Negligence occurs (Coase, 1990). Negligence is considered a tort. Torts are laws that give remedies for wrongs that are done to other people especially if no contract exists. For example, if one incurs damages from someone else who has acted irresponsibly, the wrongdoer is supposed to compensate the person who has incurred damages. This means that the tort law is used to determine the extent to which someone can be said to be liable for wrongdoing and the amount of compensation that should be paid for the breach of the duty of care. The tort of Negligence does not cover accidents because accidents do not involve breaching of the duty of care. Negligence is considered a tort because it is a behavior that is below what is expected of a person in a good frame of mind. This behavior, therefore, does not protect people from harm that is otherwise preventable or foreseeable. A person who incurs damages or gets injuries due to the negligent behavior of another person should be compensated for the harm if through civil litigation; it is found out that the culprit acted negligently. For the compensation to be awarded there must be evidence of the harm caused. If there is no evidence, then then it may be hard to compensate the plaintiff.

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Proximate Causation

Proximate causation refers to an incident where the injuries or harm in question is a result of both negligence and nature. It may also refer to incidents where injuries and harm are caused by more than one factor which includes negligence. If an instance of this cause comes up, the defendant will still be answerable for negligent conduct meaning that the existence of many causes does not exonerate negligence. Proximate cause also includes negligent actions of two or more defendants which the plaintiff must be able to prove for them to be compensated (Williams, 1999).

Duty of Care

In legal terms, the duty of care refers to the obligations that require individuals to stick to high levels of care that are deemed to be reasonable while operating in a certain area to mitigate or prevent harm. For negligence to occur, the duty of care must have been breached. In such a case, the plaintiff must have enough proof that there is a breach of this duty of care and it is this breaching that resulted in the negligence that caused the harm in question. Duty of care is not a contract; it is an implicit social obligation where people are by default required to be responsible in their area of operation. That is why tort of negligence is different from breach of contract. This means that everyone in society is supposed to uphold care towards members of the society and both the public and private property.


One of the most common remedies against the tort of negligence is monetary compensation. There are very few remedies for the tort of negligence because the courts cannot grant injunctions against negligence nor can they sentence the defendants because negligence is not covered by criminal laws. This means that monetary compensation is the most convenient remedy in negligence torts.


In conclusion, the tort of negligence is very effective because it ensures that people take utmost responsibility in their areas of operation to ensure that no damages or injuries are caused to the members of the public. Without this tort, very few would exercise the duty of care required of them and many people would incur damages and injuries as a result


Coase, R. H. (1990). “The Problem of Social Cost”. The Journal of Law and Economics 3: 1–44

Williams, G. [1999] “The Aims of the Law of Tort”, Current Legal Problems 137

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