Business Law Analysis
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In the following scenarios, use the framework for identifying business/legal issues to identify, explain and provide a solution for each:
Example 1: A delivery driver is completing his daily route and is approaching an intersection which allows him the right of way on a green light. He must suddenly brake for a pedestrian who walked out in front of his truck and proceeded to walk across the street against a red light. The delivery truck driver fails to stop in time and hits the pedestrian causing serious personal injuries.
Answer: The driver was seeing a green light which indicated his right of wayand the pedestrian was presented with a red light which means he was given a signal that it was not safe to walk across and cross the street as vehicles would be moving forward and there would chances of accidents. Both the green light for the driver of the Van and the pedestrian were given different signals o work upon and if both of hem had observed the rule of law then the accident would have been averted. However, while one of then acted as per law, the other decided to violate the legal provisions and tried to cross the street when it was forbidden. As the Pedestrian violated the signal without thinking of what would be the consequence of his action, he was clearly negligent towards others travelling on the street.
Both the Driver and the pedestrian had a duty of care towards others traveling on the road. Duty of care calls for reasonable actions so as not to cause physical and other injuries to others if a reasonable amount of rationale is exercised(chapter 11, 11-1b) . However while the Delivery driver exercised reasonable care by not violating the red signal he had before the signal turned green (he accelerated once the signal turned green) , the pedestrian was negligent in his approach and tried to violate others right of way by trying to cross the road when the signal pointed otherwise. So the pedestrian was negligent in his actions and is responsible for his actions. It would not be prudent to say that the Deliver driver failed to exercise a duty of care simply because even if he must keep an eye he cant be called upon to anticipate what the pedestrians on the street would do next. So he was reasonably expected to accelerate the vehicle upon seeing the green light and must have relied upon the green light that pedestrians would now stop on the sideline upon seeing the red light for them and not try to cross the street as vehicles would start moving ahead.
Even if the driver tried to stop the vehicle as soon as he saw the pedestrian trying to cross the road , he failed to stop the vehicle form moving and hit the pedestrian. However, he can't be faulted for the negligence of the pedestrian since he can't be expected to see the pedestrian activity by looking at the side of the road or the street as his job is to observe the traffic ahead of him and the traffic signal. The green light for the delivery driver automatically shall be construed as a stop signal for the pedestrian and the driver was safe and sound to assume a legal right of way.
Its not only the driver who owes the duty of care but also the pedestrians and pedestrians are also required to act sensibly and rationally. Every pedestrian who steps out on the road owes a duty of care towards the other fellow pedestrians and also the motorists on the road. By violating the legal provisions, the pedestrian not only endangered his own life and got injured on the process but also he put the lives of others including the motorists and the driver in danger and put many in a serious hazardous situation and thus comes under the definition of Contributory Negligence (chapter 11-page 251) . At the same time when we think on the part of the delivery van driver the accident which happened was reasonably expected to be not foreseen as the driver was in no position to anticipate the movement f the pedestrians at that particular moment and he if does so would compromise other motorists on the road and hence cant be expected to anticipate pedestrian movement. He is also not expected to think that he is going to cause physical injury to a pedestrian when he crosses the road through a green light and thus he would be reasonably expected to cross without worrying too much about what others might do or not do(Duplesis, King, oByrne, & Adams, 2017). Both the delivery driver and the pedestrian are using the same space and are expected to follow the provisions of law so as not to appear to have acted irrationally and in a manner, which can be called careless. For example, if the driver was trying to speed up in manner not expected at a traffic signal and is just accelerating then he is acting as expected of other drivers.
in the given case the driver on the signal acted with an expected standard of care and followed the rules diligently. As he accelerated seeing the green light, he was not at all expected to stop abruptly and hence he can't be faulted for the tort committed by the pedestrian. Th pedestrian acted in a careless manner and tried to cross the light when he was provided with a signal to stop and hence was irrationally acting so as to violate the law and thus putting others lives at risk. However, the Driver tried to stop on seeing the pedestrian suddenly but could not control the vehicle to stop and accident occurred as a result.
However, the driver can't be faulted for braking too slow as he tried to slow down but could not and the van hit the pedestrian. Only if it can be proved that the Driver (defendant) acted negligently then the plaintiff would have a cause of action and can succeed against the driver and the employer who would be vicariously liable (chapter 10, 10-3b). so, at best the driver (who is likely to be the defendant) would be asked to pay partial damages to the pedestrian as he himself was negligent and caused the accident through is careless behavior and action. The defendant would be partially held to be liable as well the employer if the driver was slow and failed to act in time which otherwise would have averted the Collison. If the driver acted in time but still could not stop the vehicle in time, then the Driver and his employer won't be held liable for negligence and thus can't be expected to pay pecuniary damages to cover for medical expenses and recovery.
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Example 2: A delivery driver is completing his daily route and is approaching an intersection which signals a red light for him to stop. He does so, but when the light turns green, the vehicle ahead of him does not proceed. The delivery truck driver becomes agitated and accelerates, hitting the vehicle ahead of him, causing personal injury to the driver of that vehicle.
Answer: When the Driver in front of the Delivery van did not start and go when the light turned green, it was reasonable on the part of the Driver to go and see if there was anything wrong. As the reason for the front vehicle not going ahead even in the green light is not known the driver could not be in a position to assume anything to the contrary. The Diver of the vehicle ahead was experiencing some kind of an issue and it would have been responsible for the vehicle at the back to wait patiently for the front vehicle to go or he would have backed off and gone ahead by turning left or right. But the Delivery driver did neither of the two options. He did not wait patiently and became agitated which was undesirable state of mind while driving on the Road. He tried to overtake the vehicle ahead and smashed his vehicle into the vehicle ahead. This act of the delivery van driver is negligent because:
a) By his actions he endangered the life of those in the vehicle ahead of him.
b) He acted carelessly in a delicate situation as the same became a situation in which others in the road crossing could have ben injured.
c) He failed to act in a manner which can be called a standard duty of care as he failed to wait, take a detour and failed to keep his vehicle in check and control his speeds.
The plaintiff in this case (theoccupants and the driver of the vehicle in front) need not require proving that the driver (defendant) acted very negligently and carelessly but needs to show that the defendant failed to act in a manner which can be expected ofrational people in such situations and by doing so failed to exercise a standard of care expected.
In this case the driver does not seem to have acted like a reasonable person in ordinary circumstances and as a result he di not act with care and di not use his intelligence to avert causation of the above damage. The driver of the delivery truck/van was certainly in a position to foresee the damage that can be caused to the occupants of the vehicle in front and physical or bodily injury to the vehicle itself and thus he must have acted in a manner to avoid the injury and the harm. There was a case of reasonable foreseeability in this case which the driver of the delivery van violated and it would not be unjust for an imposition of damage on the driver and his employer for making sure the plaintiffs are put intoa situation which is pre-accident. As evident in the case of Resurfice Corp V Hanke (2007) , the act of the defendant was clearly caused the physical damage and bodily harm to the plaintiffs and thus it would be appropriate for the plaintiff to be provided with a pecuniary compensation and ask the defendant and his employer to pay off the same.
The driver has also committed a crime by intentionally acting in a manner which has caused grave danger to the life of the occupants of the vehicle and thus apart from being liable under law of torts of negligence, would also be tried for criminal activity. The driver is also strictly liable for the heinous act he committed. The Employer however wont be liable for such damages and the driver would be asked to pay off the same as determined by the court of law on his own and might also be sentenced to improvement for criminal offense(Smyth, Soberman, Easson, & McGill, 2015)
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Example 3: A delivery driver is completing his daily route and during a severe snow storm, his truck slides off the road and hits a corner store causing severe property damage and injuring an employee.
Answer: In the case the delivery driver lost his control of the delivery van as he faced inclement weather conditions. The control lost by him caused damage to the property of a store and injured one of the employees. As someone who is driving on the road the driver has assumed a standard duty of care for those who would be in proximity and thus was required to keep control of the vehicle and not drive in the road if he faces difficult circumstances. As the weather was not good and forced to drive him under difficult circumstances and the driver choose to keep going in spite of very bad weather he assumes voluntary risk of causing damage to others and his own safety and to the safety of the property of the employer and the passerby etc. in the tort law, a person or the defendant would be held liable to pay damages and compensate the plaintiff even if he proves that he did everything he could to avoid the clashand thus is not negligent in any manner for the damages caused to the plaintiff, since the defendant is held liable for the actions of his under primary or strict liability clause. This applies even in the circumstances where the driver or the defendant has taken every care to stay in control and acted rationally to exercise duty of care (Ch. 10,page 230, primary and vicarious liability ). Thus, it can be safely said that the driver is primarily liable for the damages caused to the corner stores propertyand also the physical injury caused to the employee of the corner store.
The weather condition was bad and under such bad weather a driver who is acting with care would stop as he foresees the conditions as something which is not ideal for driving and there is a foreseeable possibility that he would lose control of the vehicle and might cause injury to the life and property of others and also damaging the property of the employer as well. So he acted in a reckless manner by deciding to drive still in such weather and as a result is negligent. He is negligent is strict liability or primary liability and he would be held personally liable for the loss of property and physical injury to the staff of the store. He was negligent and d not exercise judgement which was expected fo a driver in such circumstances and as aresult of bad judgement the accident occurred.
a) The Accident could be foreseeable if one takes minimal judgment and thus could have bene averted.
b) However, the Driver took precaution but still caused the accident.
c) There is a clear and visible causation between the act undertaken by the Diver an the injury anddamage suffered by the corner store.
The causation exists as taking reasonable care on the part of the driver and stop till weather cleared rested with the driver and he did not opt for the same. As the control lost and the occurrence of the accident causing injury is established there is clear causation between the two(Ch. 11, 11-1b).
d) The employer of the delivery driver is vicariouslyliable as the actions of the driver solely dependent upon his employment status and he was returning from a delivery and might have bene instructed y the employer to reach by a designated time and this is why the driver did not stop on the way and decided to drive through inclement weather and took the extra risk for avoiding violation of instructions.
One of the reasons of proximity might be that the corner sore was actually adrop-offlocation and the driver was trying to reach to avoid getting late and hence undertook extra risk in severe weather condition. Thus, it can be said that the delivery driver was well aware of the risk in driving in such circumstances and still took the risk to complete his drop offs as mandatedby the employer. The driver is liable for the accident and injury, but he can't be held liable for negligence as he took all possibilities into account and precautions. He was not speeding at the time of the accident and the accident occurred because of extreme weather.
Thus, it is likely that the Employee of the corner store would sue the driver for compensation, and he would be liable for the same under strict liability. However, the employer is also likely to be held liable under the above discussed vicarious liability clause. Damages asked can include compensation for physical injury, loss of job and likely loss of future incomes as well. In such cases employers like the delivery company or the supplier must issue strict instruction as to how to act in extreme circumstances to avoid liabilityunder strict and vicarious liability(Yates, Bereznicki-Korol, & Clarke, 2016).
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