Efficient standards of due care: Should courts find more parties negligent under comparative negligence?
We show that negligence standards should differ under comparative and contributory negligence regimes. If due care standards are allowed to vary with the laws of a jurisdiction, then comparative and contributory negligence may be equally efficient, even in a model with evidentiary uncertainty. It is commonly observed that jurors are naturally inclined to be more lenient to plaintiffs on the issue of plaintiff negligence in contributory negligence jurisdictions. We show that such lenience may actually be efficient in addition to satisfying jurors' senses of equity. A similar conclusion applies to defendants.
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