Is Michael guilty of Negligence?

Is Michael guilty of Negligence?

Negligence is a type of tort, and tort is defined as a civil wrong that implies that someone did an injustice to the other person, and the court of law is left to determine who was wrong between the two. Negligence is defined as conduct that falls below the required standards of behavior established by the law to protect individuals against an unreasonable risk of harm (McGee, 2020). In addition, we say a person was negligent if they deviated from the expected conduct of a rationally cautious person who would have acted accordingly to the same circumstances. From the above definition, it can be concluded that; Michael is guilty of negligence; despite knowing he didn’t have the proper training to operate machinery, he still lifted the boxes which fell and caused injuries to Ed; his expected conduct was to avoid using the machinery.

Michael’s attorney’s argument is based on contributory negligence.

According to White (2018), contributory negligence is when an injured person is considered to have contributed significantly to an injury they suffered. Michael and Ed were all busy working in the stockroom; Michael decided to operate machinery from which he lacked the skills to use, leading to the lifting of boxes that injured Ed; for that reason, Contributory Negligence cannot apply here. Michael’s attorney was wrong when he said that contributory Negligence might influence the case. I’m afraid I have to disagree with Michael’s attorney.

Comparative Negligence on the part of the Company.

Comparative Negligence is a principle that mainly applies to casualty insurance, which generally divides the fault among two people involved in the incident, in this case, Michael and the Company. Michael and Ed both work in one Company. The incident happened while they were engaging in their routine activities, from which it could be difficult for the Company to establish who was negligent. According to Cabral et al.(2019), a company should have insurance policies for its workers from which they may claim anytime an injury occurs while they are at work. For this case, there will be apportionment of the fault between the Company and Michael for allowing an untrained person to work in their Company. In addition, the outcome of the case would be changed to hold both Michael and the Company liable for injuries incurred by Ed.

Is the Company liable for damages?

The Company is liable for the mistake made by Michael as the negligent act happened while Michael was in the line of duty. Normally, employers are held vicariously liable for the acts of Negligence and omissions by their workers under the doctrine of ‘respondeat superior’ which postulates that the superior is the only that is held to be answerable to the judge and even to the clients whenever there is an issue arising between the workers only during the worker’s employment. We can further add on by saying; that employers have a personal liability of ensuring that; their employees are always safe while at work, their place of work is well equipped with safety measures and precautions, and they’re safe equipment and materials for the employees to work with them in their best knowledge, a safe system and ensuring competent staff is the only ones employed. In addition, according to vicarious liability, when an employee in the course of performance of their duty commits a tort, the liability of the employer comes in for the wrongful act committed or omitted. Therefore, the given employer will be held liable due to the relationship that exists between the employee and the employer.


Cabral, M., Cui, C., & Dworsky, M. (2019). The Demand for Insurance and Rationale for a Mandate: Evidence from Workers’ Compensation Insurance (No. w26103). National Bureau of Economic Research.

McGee, R. W. (2020). Does Closing a University because of the Corona Virus Constitute Negligence or a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?. Available at SSRN 3590805.

White, A. (2018). Perpetuating Injustice: Analyzing the Maryland Court of Appeals’s Refusal to Change the Common Law Doctrine of Contributory Negligence. Md. L. Rev.78, 1042.

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