By Nakshatra Gujrati
The author is a first-year law student at National Law University Odisha and is the founder of LAWOGS.
We live in a society, or an ideal society or to be precise we try to make society ideal and the way is to establish a rule of law. There must be some rights that must be guaranteed by law to every individual in a society to attain this aim. There are several rights which the citizens of a state enjoy. Some acts are crooked which aren’t much grave but do cause injury and these acts are redressed by unliquidated damages which come under the purview of the law of torts.
Law of Torts is based on the term where there is a right there is the remedy. One may find its origin in English common law. Some countries like the USA have codified the law of torts while some countries like India haven’t codified it yet and surprisingly India lacks in the development of the law of torts too.
The reasons are illiteracy, poverty, expensive redressal mechanism which either result in a lack of awareness of legal rights or people feeling discouraged to claim their rights.
The tort is civil wrong but not a breach of contract.
Torts are civil wrongs for which remedy is compensation and unlike criminal wrong where the wrongdoer is punished. Torts provide for unliquidated damages while breaching of contract results in recovery of a predetermined amount. The tort is a breach of duties determined by law, while breach of contract is when predetermined duties of parties involved are breached. But privity in the case of suing in a court of law is the same, as a plaintiff whose right has been violated by the defendant can be brought in court by the plaintiff itself. Similarly, only parties involved in the contract can bring the case if there is a breach of contract by any side.
Law of Crimes and Law of Torts Distinguished.
A case under the law of torts is brought by the plaintiff whose legal right gets violated and is against the defendant, while the case under the law of crimes is brought by the state against the accused. Because crime is something very abhorrent and society is against it. In the law of torts, one can compromise with the wronged party while except for few cases compounding a criminal offense is a crime in itself. Even minors can be sued under the law of torts while this isn’t the case so in the law of crimes.
Inevitable Accident and some cases.
An accident means something which is unexpected and cant be predicted while inevitable means are unavoidable. But inevitable accident doesn’t simply mean an accident that can’t be avoided because an accident is something that is most of the time unavoidable. So the definition is an accident that occurs even after precautions taken by a reasonable man, then it can be defined as an inevitable accident that serves as a good defense to escape liability.
- Stanley v. Powell:- Two people went for pheasant shooting, A shoots towards a pheasant the bullet ricochets from an oak tree and hits B. Court rules in favor of A because the injury was accidental.
- Assam State Coop, etc. Federation Ltd v. Anubha Sinha. : The defendant was a tenant at the plaintiff’s residence, defendant requested the plaintiff to repair the electric wiring which was repeatedly neglected by the plaintiff. One day there occurred a short circuit and the plaintiff’s premises were on fire. The court ruled in favor of the defendant that it was an inevitable accident.
- Nitroglycerine case:- A parcelled a package containing nitroglycerine at B’s company. C who was an employee there found a leakage and took it to the office building for mending it. There occurred a blast that ruined B’s office and B sued C for the damages. The court ruled in favor of C as it couldn’t be suspected that the parcel contained nitroglycerine so it was an inevitable accident.
These were some cases that dissolved the liability due to the defense of inevitable accidents, there are some cases like the Vedantacharya case in which strong floods and heavy rains occurred but the same were predictable and damages could have been avoided so the court ruled against the defendants.