Split-Award Tort Reform, Firm's Level of Care and Litigation Outcomes
AbstractIn an attempt to reduce the liability insurance costs of firms, several US states have implemented many different kinds of tort reform. Some reforms take the form of caps or limits on punitive damage awards while others have mandated that a proportion of the award be allocated to the plaintiff with the remainder going to the state. These latter reforms, called â€œsplit-awardsâ€ have recently been implemented in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Oregon, and Utah. It is important to note that reforms that reduce the firm's expected litigation loss also affect the firm's expenditures on accident prevention (firmâ€™s level of care), and therefore, the probability of accidents. Our paper presents a theoretical model that explores the effect of the split award on a wide range of economic and social outcomes â€“ the level of care that firms choose in an effort to prevent accidents and lawsuits, the probability of an accident, the probability that a lawsuit proceeds to the award stage of a trial, and the social costs of accidents. Our model builds upon Pngâ's (1987) theoretical framework on liability and litigation and extends it in a number of ways. First, we incorporate the split-award statute into the framework. Second, we establish sufficient conditions for a unique litigation stage equilibrium that survives the universal divinity refinement (Banks and Sobel, 1987). Third, we find a sufficient condition for the positive relationship between the plaintiff's share of the punitive award and the probability of trial. Fourth, we study the effects of this statute on social cost of accidents and establish necessary and sufficient conditions for a reduction in social costs of accidents under the split-award regime. Previous studies of the split-award tort reform (Daughety and Reinganum, 2003; Kahan and Tuckman, 1995) are also extended by incorporating into the analysis the effects of this statute on the firmâ€™s level of care and social costs of accidents. Consistent with Daughety and Reinganum (2003), we predict that, holding filing constant, a decrease in the plaintiff's share of the award decreases the conditional and unconditional probabilities of trial. Given that the split-award statute applies only when the case is settled in court, the parties have an incentive to settle out of court in order to cut out the state. In addition, we find that a reduction in the plaintiff's share of the award increases the probability of accidents. This effect arises because a decrease in the plaintiff's share reduces expected litigation costs. The firm reacts to these lower expected costs by reducing expenditures on safety. Conditions under which this reform reduces the social cost of accidents are derived.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings with number 4.
Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Phone: 1 212 998 3820
Fax: 1 212 995 4487
Web page: http://www.econometricsociety.org/pastmeetings.asp
More information through EDIRC
Settlement; Bargaining; Litigation; Asymmetric Information;
Other versions of this item:
- Claudia M. Landeo & Maxim Nikitin, 2006. "Split-Award Tort Reform, Firm's Level of Care, and Litigation Outcomes," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(4), pages 571-600, December.
- K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
- C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Png, I. P. L., 1987. "Litigation, liability, and incentives for care," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 61-85, October.
- Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2000.
"Found Money? Split-Award Statutes and Settlement of Punitive Damages Cases,"
Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers
0001, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics, revised Mar 2001.
- Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2003. "Found Money? Split-Award Statutes and Settlement of Punitive Damages Cases," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 134-164.
- Polinsky, A Mitchell & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1988. "The Welfare Implications of Costly Litigation for the Level of Liability," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 151-64, January.
- Albert Choi & Chris Sanchirico, .
"Should Plaintiffs Win What Defendants Lose?: Litigation Stakes, Litigation Effort, and the Benefits of 'Decoupling',"
Scholarship at Penn Law
upenn_wps-1000, University of Pennsylvania Law School.
- Albert Choi & Chris William Sanchirico, 2004. "Should Plaintiffs Win What Defendants Lose? Litigation Stakes, Litigation Effort, and the Benefits of Decoupling," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 323-354, 06.
- Hylton, Keith N., 2002. "An asymmetric-information model of litigation," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 153-175, August.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Yeon-Koo Che, 1991.
"Decoupling Liability: Optimal Incentives for Care and Litigation,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 562-570, Winter.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Yeon-Koo Che, 1993. "Decoupling Liability: Optimal Incentives for Care and Litigation," NBER Working Papers 3634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Spier, Kathryn E, 1997. "A Note on the Divergence between the Private and the Social Motive to Settle under a Negligence Rule," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 613-21, June.
- Kahan, Marcel & Tuckman, Bruce, 1995. "Special levies on punitive damages: Decoupling, agency problems, and litigation expenditures," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 175-185, June.
- Miceli, Thomas J, 1994. "Do Contingent Fees Promote Excessive Litigation?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 211-24, January.
- Karpoff, Jonathan M & Lott, John R, Jr, 1999. "On the Determinants and Importance of Punitive Damage Awards," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 527-73, April.
- Schweizer, Urs, 1989. "Litigation and Settlement under Two-Sided Incomplete Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 163-77, April.
- Chopard, Bertrand & Cortade, Thomas & Langlais, Eric, 2008.
"Trial and settlement negotiations between asymmetrically skilled parties,"
8995, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Chopard, Bertrand & Cortade, Thomas & Langlais, Eric, 2010. "Trial and settlement negotiations between asymmetrically skilled parties," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 18-27, March.
- Bertrand Chopard & Thomas Cortade & Eric Langlais, 2008. "Trial and settlement negotiations between asymmetrically skilled parties," EconomiX Working Papers 2008-32, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
- Landeo, Claudia M. & Nikitin, Maxim & Babcock, Linda, 2007. "Split-awards and disputes: An experimental study of a strategic model of litigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 553-572, July.
- Landeo, Claudia, 2009.
"Tort Reform, Disputes and Belief Formation,"
2009-12, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
- Landeo, Claudia & Nikitin, Maxim & Izmalkov, Sergei, 2012.
"Playing against an Apparent Opponent: Incentives for Care, Litigation, and Damage Caps under Self-Serving Bias,"
2012-15, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 01 Oct 2012.
- Landeo, Claudia & Nikitin, Maxim & Izmalkov, Sergei, 2012. "Playing against an Apparent Opponent: Incentives for Care, Litigation, and Damage Caps under Self-Serving Bias," Working Papers 2012-9, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.