What are the fundamental purposes of tort law?

Free question:

What are the fundamental purposes of tort law? Who is it meant to protect?

Short Answer Question:

What is a trespass?

What is an assault?

How is self-defense a defense to certain torts?

Hypothetical:

Ruth carelessly parks her car on a steep hill, leaving her car in neutral and failing to engage the parking brake.  The car rolls down the hill, knocking down an electric power pole.  The sparks from the live electric power line ignite a grass fire.  The fire spreads until it reaches a barn about a mile away.  The barn has dynamite stored inside.  The dynamite explodes, causing part of burning roof to strike and injure Jim a passing motorist in a convertible.  While rushing Jim to the hospital, Jack, an intoxicated ambulance driver, collides with a car driven by thieves fleeing the scene of the robbery.

Discuss whether Jim can recover from Ruth for his injuries under a claim of negligence.  Be sure to discuss each element of the cause of action of negligence and any affirmative defenses Ruth might raise.

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