After this last module, you are seeing the business world through wiser and more legal eyes.
Business is an ongoing series of contracts and torts. Making, performing, avoiding and enforcing contracts is an essential and constant part of everyday business. Identifying and avoiding torts or at least minimizing the company’s tort liability is an essential and constant part of the business world. Each subject of the law produces unique legal issues, which are essentially “legal questions” and the answers to these issues determine the existence and the impacts of contracts and torts on your business. In this section you learned quite a bit about the legal issues dealing with Contracts, specifically you learned:
- That there are different degrees of explicitness of any contract, an express contract being either in writing or verbal and an implied contract being inferred from the conduct of the parties.
- That contracts always involve the exchange of promises, with a promise for an act which is a unilateral contract or a promise exchanged for a return promise which is a bilateral contract.
- That if one party has made a representation seeming like a promise and another has acted on it and provided benefit because of the representation, a court may require compensation under the doctrine of promissory estoppel to avoid unjust enrichment.
- You have learned that in general experience there are four requirements for the formation of an enforceable contract: Mutual consent, consideration exchanged between the parties, that both parties have the legal capacity to enter into a contract and that there be a legal purpose to the contract.
You also learned about some of the legal issues dealing with torts, specifically that:
- A person sustaining an injury arising from the act of a business is not by itself enough for legal liability for a negligent tort, there must be a reasonable duty of the business to protect the injured person from negligent harm
- The negligence of the injured party does not bar a lawsuit or tort liability if the business was only liable to a much lesser extent. In that case the business can be liable from even slight contributory negligence.
- Even if acting knowingly and dangerously, an injured party may not be barred from recovery since the doctrine of assumption of the risk is narrowly applied.
You now have an understanding how a lawyer looks at the operation of a business, particularly the disputes that arise under contract or tort as a series of problems and legal questions called “ISSUES”. A lawyer understands, and now so do you, that the resolution of these “ISSUES” can have a critical part impact on the success perhaps even the survival of a business.