Ordinarily, a plaintiff in a personal injury action has the burden of proving that a defendant’s negligence caused his or her injury. However, when a plaintiff proves that two defendants have committed negligent acts, and it is impossible to determine which act caused the plaintiff’s injury, the burden of proof shifts to the defendants. Each defendant has the burden of proving that his or her negligent act did not cause the plaintiff’s injury.
Every property owner is entitled to use his land in a reasonable way. His use, however, may exceed the bounds of reason and become an inconvenience or even a nuisance to others. A nuisance is more than a mere inconvenience that has to be tolerated. If a nuisance rises to a certain level, it may be actionable. Some examples of nuisances include odors and noise.
As a general rule, it is not illegal to say something that is not true. The general rule probably evolved from the fact that, in addition to engaging in intentional deception, human beings can simply be mistaken. It is also true that some false statements do not deceive because they come from sources known to be unreliable. If we do not rely on the mistaken statements of others, they do us no harm.
Apart from legislation granting a right to sue for a specific harm, personal injury law generally consists of tort law and the civil procedure for enforcing it. Most scholars agree that tort law has four purposes: (1) compensation for damages; (2) financial responsibility; (3) deterrence; and (4) avoiding self-help. This article discusses the purposes of deterrence and avoiding self-help.
Defamation lawsuits are not easy to win because the plaintiff must both prove the difficult elements of his or her case and avoid the many defenses to defamation. This article discusses two unusual “defenses” to defamation, the insubstantial but practical defense of I-dare-you-to-sue, and the real but rare defense of consent.