The creation of tort of negligence is a very important tool by which gaps in the law is filled. Often, actions require that some wrongful intent be present in the mind of the actor. However, intent is a difficult thing to prove. Moreover, there are cases where injuries arise without intent to cause them, but which necessitates compensation or correction by the person causing the injury, albeit negligently based on justice and equity. The vast coverage and minimum requirement of negligent torts give persons injured by these kinds of acts a definite remedy in law.
However, important and useful as it is, the question arises as to whether the state should really punish negligence. It is easy to know why intentional acts should be punished. The deliberateness of the act shows the degree of moral corruption or perversity of the actor. However, negligent acts are just a degree higher than accident. Like accidents, simple negligence is sometimes unavoidable. Everyone is bound to be negligent once and while. The only difference is that some negligent acts are lucky enough not to result to injury. To punish each and every negligent act that results to injury is to reward those who are lucky enough for their negligent acts not to result to injury.
It becomes more problematic when a person considers liability imposed on persons other than those who committed the breach. An example of this the strict liability tort wherein a person is made liable even if he is without fault. This strict liability often exist in inherently dangerous activities or activities vested with public interest such as products liability, explosives and keeping of dangerous animals. Another is as regards persons who are made liable for the negligent acts of incapacitated persons under their care such as guardians and parents. They have not done anything to injure others and most of the things for which they are made liable happen beyond their control, but the state makes them liable for the damages caused because no one else may be made liable.
The law justifies all these through the word responsibility. Everyone has a responsibility for their actions. Everyone has a duty to avoid injuring others. This is the other side of the ethical dilemma. If the actor who committed the breach may find it unfair to find himself liable for the damage caused by a minor negligence, the party injured may also find it unfair to find himself burdened by the damage caused to him by the party who caused the breach. I believe what occurred is just a weighing down the scale of justice. It was a choice of which is more unfair. To burden the negligent party or to burden the innocent party who is damaged.
This same word, responsibility, is also used to justify strict and vicarious liability. Parents, guardians, employers and other similar persons are responsible for their wards and employees. I think this is also a balancing of the scale. Due to circumstances such as incapacity in law of inability to pay, the injured party may be again left with the burden of his own injury. Again, the law finds it less unfair to make people who are charged with responsibility and are thus deemed to be in a position of relative control, by which they can avoid damage, liable for the injuries that may result from the negligent acts.