Fault, Settlement, and Negligence Law

Fault, Settlement, and Negligence Law

RAND Journal of Economics.
1995, Vol. 26, Issue 2, Pages 296-313

State tort laws that govern the apportionment of damages from accidents often bar potential plaintiffs who played even a minor causal role in the accident from recovering damages from other culpable parties. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that judges and juries fail to enforce the letter of the law, which leads to a weaker relationship between fault in an accident and recovery for injuries than the laws would predict. Data from insurance settlements arising out of auto accidents are consistent with the anecdotal evidence. This indicates that the letter of the law may be less important in shaping individuals' behavior than scholars have supposed.