In tort law negligence may be defined as the failure to act reasonably, i.e., as a reasonable man would act. The reasonable man exercises care not to injure others. To the reasonable man some truths are self-evident. The reasonable man knows the difference between direct facts and imagined conjectures. The reasonable man cares for his neighbor's welfare. He does not steal. He does not lie. He acts responsibly to others and to himself. He follows the Golden Rule. He is not required to throw his life away attempting to rescue the widow's parakeet from a marauding cat. He is allowed to exercise self-interest. He is not required to give his money to the poor. He is required, however, to act in a way that will not adversely affect the welfare of others or the welfare of society as a whole. The reasonable man exercises due diligence1 to ensure that his acts
(including his words both spoken and written) do not injure others. The reasonable man sets the stage for civilized governments to establish a system of justice and fair play. Whatever is good for the reasonable man is good for us all. Negligence may also be established in our courts when one party breaches his duty to another. Duty is the obligation that gives courts the right to order that one person pay for the damages he causes to another. (Similarly, it gives courts power to enforce contracts, where one party breaches the duty created by promise.) Duty gives rise to all causes of action2
, for every lawsuit arises from the breach of
a duty of one form or another. In our society, everyone owes a duty not to cause injury to others, either negligently or with intent. If one breaches his duty to another, he may be liable in either a civil court or, if the duty is serious enough, in criminal court. Not all duties, however, give rise to a cause of action. For example, if Billy promises Sue they will marry on June 4th and gets cold feet at the last moment, our courts will not enforce...
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