General Defenses in Torts


They will be found guilty if they have all the elements of a wrong in any case against them. This holds even when the defendant is facing tort charges. Certain types of crimes have specific defenses. There are many options for you to defend yourself if you are accused of defamation. If all elements are present, a plaintiff can bring a lawsuit against the defendant to hold him responsible for the tort he has committed. He does have a variety of defenses that he can use to avoid being held accountable for the harm he did. In tort law, they are called general defenses.

These defenses are available as follows:

  1. Volenti Nonfit Injuria (Defense of “Consent”)
  2. The plaintiff is the wrongdoer
  3. Inevitable accident
  4. Act of God
  5. Private defense
  6. Make a mistake
  7. Necessity
  8. Statutory authority

1. Volenti nonfit injuria

A plaintiff who deliberately inflicts harm on himself cannot claim recourse. He also can’t complain under tort law. He cannot be held responsible for any inalienable rights he has renounced. The agreement of a person to be hurt might be implicit or explicit. The defense might include: A person cannot sue you for trespass if they invite you over; no one can sue you for surgery if it is performed under your consent; and no one can file a claim for defamation if the publication of information you knew about but didn’t want others to know about it. Participation in the games requires you to accept all risks and take responsibility for any injuries.

You must prove that the plaintiff consented to the defense.

In Lakshmi Rajan [1], a 40-year-old married woman felt a tumor in her breast. However, it did not affect her uterus. After the procedure, she was shocked to learn that her uterus had been surgically removed. The hospital administrators were responsible for this incident. In this instance, the hospital’s administrators were responsible for the incident. If the patient is unable or unwilling to give permission, then consent from their guardian is sufficient.

2. Plaintiff the wrongdoer

Latin maxim “Ex Turpi Causa Non-Oritur Actio,” which means “from an imprudent cause, no action arises,” is the Latin equivalent of “Ex Turpi Causa Non-Oritur Actio.” The plaintiff can’t receive damages if the case’s foundation is an illegal contract. No matter the defendant’s claims, he cannot be held responsible for damages if a court finds that he is the offender.

The Bird case brought forth the claim that the plaintiff is entitled to damages for any injuries he suffered. As a result, he installed the spring guns in his yard without him knowing.

It is, therefore, essential to determine the connection between the plaintiff’s conduct and the loss that he has suffered. He is not entitled to compensation for any injury he caused by his actions. The defendant can be held responsible even though the plaintiff is not at fault.

3. Inevitable accident

We call it an “inevitable accident” because the defendant could not prevent or avoid it, despite having taken all measures. The defendant may argue that the damage was not preventable even if he took all necessary steps.

Two parties were involved in a hunting trip. The defendant shot at an oak tree, but the bullet struck the plaintiff, inflicting severe injuries. The defendant was not held responsible in this case because the incident was deemed unavoidable [3]. The plaintiff sustained severe injuries when the bullet struck the plaintiff.

4. Act of God

An “act of God” is a defense that may be allowed under tort law. The ‘Strict liability’ rule also recognizes it. In the case of Rylands

Although they may seem similar, Inevitable accidents, defenses, and acts of God are very different. An “act of God” refers to a natural event in which the forces and nature do damage. This defense requires evidence that realistic details are at work.

5. Private defenses

It must not be a regular occurrence. The law protects a person’s property and life. This allows them to use reasonable force to defend themselves. Self-defence is not justifiable. A person cannot use power against another person because they fear B will attack them in the future. A forceful use must be proportionate and targeted at a specific threat. In Ramanuja Mudi v. M. Gangan [5], the defendant installed an electric wire to shock the plaintiff every night he crossed the street. The plaintiff could hold the defendant legally responsible for his injuries because he failed to give any notice about the wire.

6. Make a mistake

Two types of errors are possible:

  1. Lawlessness
  2. “Mistake of fact”

In either case, the defendant does not have recourse. However, defendants may sometimes use the defense of error to avoid culpability under tort law. Morrison v. Ritchie & Co This was true because the plaintiff had married two months earlier. The defendant was found guilty of defamation. In such circumstances, whether the speaker acted in goodwill doesn’t matter.

7. Necessity

Even if the injury was caused knowingly, it is not actionable unless the damage is to prevent a greater evil. It is essential to distinguish between the need for defense and self-defense. In the case of private security, an innocent person is hurt while a wrongdoer is injured. In that necessity causes damage, it is intentional. However, in the case of an accident, harm can occur even if every effort has been made to avoid it. You may need to do things like tossing objects overboard to help save a ship or home or to perform surgery on an unconscious person to save their life.

Like Cope [7], the defendant entered the plaintiff’s property to extinguish a fire spreading to adjoining acreage where his master had hunting rights. The defendant’s actions led to him being found not guilty of trespassing.

8. Legislative authority:

Any act or law that permits it to be done, regardless of whether it is illegal, is ineligible for action. The injured party is left with no recourse other than to file a claim for damages as the law permits. Statutory immunity does not apply to visible injuries only. It also covers unintentional harm. Vaughan v. Taf Valde Rail Company Inflammable grass was spread over the dam on the train line. The jury found the company guilty of negligent conduct.


This blog is intended to emphasize the importance of General Defenses in avoiding liability in torts. To understand tort law, it is essential first to understand the various defenses available to someone accused of tort. You can use a variety of general reasons to avoid being held responsible. The defendant can be held accountable if the plaintiff files a lawsuit against the defendant for a specific tort. This document explains all possible defenses that can be used depending on the facts and the circumstances. First, it is essential to understand the offense and then select a strategy to counter it. They can be used depending on the situation and the accused’s ability. According to my books of opinions, they can be used in some instances and according to the accused’s capacity. If the plaintiff brought an action against the defendant for a specific tort, and all elements of that tort were present, the defendant would be held liable.

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