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Some Legal Anatomy: Thinking Like a Tort Lawyer


If you had chosen medical school, your course in human anatomy would probably have been broken down into topics, like the brain, the circulatory system, the digestive system, the skeletal system, and so on. But bodies don't operate that way, they function as a unified system in which all elements interact to form a living organism.

Similarly, while most of the chapters in this book, like the Torts course itself, focus on particular elements or types of tort claims, cases do not arrive in lawyers' offices in such neat categories. Accidents present complex, miscellaneous, unorganized facts that lawyers must reconceptualize in terms of the theoretical framework of tort law. The challenge of a torts practice is to fit these unorganized real world facts into the recognized elements and defenses of a negligence claim. This chapter provides a brief opportunity to look at tort claims the way a practitioner does, to reason from raw data to legally supportable claims for damages.

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