Liability

An action for damages may only be successful provided it is established that the defendants are responsible or liable for the injury or damage caused.

Tort law in Ontario provides certain bases for liability. These include the intentional infliction of harm such as an assault or battery or intentional infliction of mental suffering. Often the intentional torts will also result in an award of punitive damages. Liability may also be founded by reason of negligent conduct. This is the most common form of action today.

In determining the issues of liability in a negligence action complexities abound however fundamentally the plaintiff must show the existence of a duty to take care upon the part of the defendant, a breach of that duty by the failure of the defendant to take proper care in conformance with the standard set by the law, and that the damage results from that breach.

Often the determination of what is the standard of care to be met requires evidence from expert witnesses and this is particularly so in actions involving the malpractice of professionals such as doctors or lawyers.

Negligence cases will often involve consideration of principles relating to forseeability, risk and causation. In the automobile accident or slip and fall case there is usually also an examination of the plaintiff’s own conduct to determine if it was negligent and thereby contributed to the damages.

In rare circumstances liability is also imposed in the absence of intentional or negligent conduct. These cases are confined to activities involving the use of land or those that are inherently dangerous.

Early investigation and assessment of liability issues is an important and valuable feature of successful litigation and is the approach followed at Obradovich Law.