There have been numerous cases or rather wrongs of the breach of civil duty that is owed to different people across the globe. In line with this, the civil societies as well as law organizations have classified these breaches of civil duties into different categories in order to administer justice according to the needs of each wrong. With this in mind, one of the categories of the breach of civil duty is the negligence tort. Lindh et al. (2009) argue that negligent tort is not deliberate but rather as a result of omission and commission of an act (p. 102). In other words, negligence tort focuses on unintentional wrongs that are committed by a person responsible for discharging a duty of care.
Essentially, there are different elements of negligent tort that have been identified so far. To begin with, it is argued that there are five main elements of negligent tort, namely; duty, breach, cause, proximate cause and damage. In this regard, duty refers to the “…obligation of one person to another” (Owen, 2007, p. 1674). In other words, it is the responsibility that is accorded to one person towards another in the society. Arguably, “duty balances the interests of certain classes of potential victims in security from certain types of harm, on the one hand, against the interests of certain classes of actors in freedom of action, on the other” (p. 1674). Breach on the other hand refers to the misconduct of the defendant. In other words, it is a violation of the duty that one has been given towards another person in the society.
The third main element of negligent tort is the cause in fact. Owen reiterates that “causation provides the central negligence element that links the defendant’s wrong to the plaintiff’s harm” (p. 1680). Notably, it is the factor that stirred up the harm and the effect it has on the person. Proximate cause on the other hand refers to the connection between the plaintiff’s injury and the defendant’s breach of duty (Owen, 2007). Finally, the last major element of negligent tort is the damage or rather harm. This is “the damage a plaintiff suffers as a proximate result of a defendant’s breach of duty” (p. 1685).
One of the areas that have raised a lot of concerns in the legal arena is whether to hold the defendant accountable for the proximate cause of a plaintiff’s injury. However, it is important to understand that before a defendant is found guilty for breaching the duty of care, it is very important to define whether his or her actions were the proximate cause of the harm on the plaintiff. In reference to Best and Barnes (2007), “if you find the [party] was negligent, you must find that the party’s negligence was a proximate cause of the accident/incident/event before you can find that [the party] was responsible for the claimed injury/loss/harm” (p. 275).