Law Case Problem Solving – IRAC Method

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Example Case: Raceway Go Karts

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  1. Relevant Facts

Defendant: Partnership (owner-operators), evidence of dangerous track, 1-3 full time counter staff, 8-10 go kart staff (depends on amount of customers), staff young without induction training, no safety procedures in place, little maintenance, all users sign a waiver form. Approval to operate as a go kart track had never been granted formal council approval by local jurisdictional authority, The Local Council. Not the first time users have been injured, kept no records of injury, supposedly six other injuries that lead to hospitalization. Established business have been operating for over 10 years. They should have a safe track. Partnership, owners of this go kart would be personally liable. Go Karts can go very fast, serious business. Operating on an open track, don’t know is it was yet on the day, converted former paddock, was not built for a track.

Plaintiff: Mary O’Connor, aged 15, suffered injury (result of helmet safety use), incident (5 go kart pile up), she was hospitalized for over a week, suffered permanent scarring and traumatized requiring ongoing psychological counselling (6-12 months). Parents want to sue for $1 million, for pain, loss, injury, including mental expenses.

  1. IRAC

Issues: The injured party, Mary O’Connor (plaintiff) suffered pain, loss, injury and mental expenses due to negligence on behalf of Raceway Go Karts owner-operators (defendant). This event could have been avoidable had the defendant put in place relevant safety procedures and staff training. They also had no council approval to operate, nor did they take reasonable steps to manage previous cases if further evidence could be substantiated such as keeping an injury record book (industry codes) nor did they do track maintenance as required.

Rules: This case would come under Tort Negligence Law (a tort actionable at the suit of a person suffering damage as the result of the defendant’s breach of duty to take care to refrain from doing those acts that a reasonable person could reasonably foresee as being likely to injure a plaintiff).

Application: On the balance of probabilities:

Was a duty of care owed to the Plantiff? Yes, as they owed a duty of care to all customers.

Was there a breach of the duty of care? Yes, the defendant breached their duty of care when they failed to put in place relevant safety procedures. They also failed to maintain to track up to industry standards.

Was there any loss? Yes, the plaintiff suffered pain, loss, injury, and mental expenses.

What was the defence? The defence was weak due to them also having no prior council approval to even operate as a go kart track by local jurisdictional authority: The Local Council. They were operating illegally. There was no contributory negligence nor was there assumption of risk as the waiver signed is not legally binding due to the girl being under 18. Affordability not an excuse (spent $30 thousand on speedlight times), nor business operating time (over 10 years in operation).

Was there causation? There was causation due to the lack of maintenance, suitable barriers, and regulation in place. Also there was foreseeability, a reasonable person would have foreseen that, taking into account all the circumstances (long hair could get caught in engine, was seen the potential danger on first lap) of the particular case, there was a real risk of the likelihood of injury.

  1. Conclusion

In this case the defendant owed a duty of care similar to other similar Tort Negligence cases that can be drawn upon.

Reasonable compensation would include: cover for hospization, loss of income, ect. She was hospitalized for over a week, suffered permanent scarring and traumatized requiring ongoing psychological counselling (6-12 months).

Variables in this case would be, if this were to occur, ect. Such as permanent hair loss, the extent of loss would be much greater.

Other contributing factors: Did Mary contribute to her damages? Mary did not secure her hair adequately within the helmet provided.

  1. Advise

Mary’s parents of her position seek remedy. Fully explain each element of a claim for negligence to be successful?

It was reported that Mary’s parents want to sue for $1 million, however remedy for tort negligence allow only to recover for pain, loss, injury, including mental expenses. Reasonable compensation would only likely cover the expenses rather than the amount asked for. Unless, if something were to occur, such as permanent hair loss (with proximity to incident), then a new amount should be arranged between the parties.

The owner-operators of Raceway Go Karts, as to their likely liability and what steps you would recommend to them.

They (Owners in Partnership) are liable due to the duty of care steps, and have been proven to have breached their duty of care, and caused loss to the plaintiff, therefore they should settle at paying any medical expenses and dispute the $1 million asked for. Maybe use contributory negligence for not securing hair, yet very weak defence due go age of plaintiff.

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