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The role of insurance in the adjudication of multiparty accidents

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  • Feess, Eberhard
  • Hege, Ulrich

Abstract

This paper considers the case where adequate negligence standards cannot be defined because actions of defendants before an accident are imperfectly observable. Negligence-based liability rules, which are often considered as the only efficient liability rule in the presence of multiple tortfeasors, are not feasible in this environment. We propose an insurance-based liability rule as a remedy: Damages are apportioned according to the insurance policies of the defendants. The adjudication is made dependent on the requirement that the injurers have taken out insurance coverage setting the right incentives. The liability rule is easy to characterize, efficient, and avoids the use of punitive damages. Insurance-based liability could also be helpful to mitigate the problem of unobservable avoidance costs.
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Suggested Citation

  • Feess, Eberhard & Hege, Ulrich, 1999. "The role of insurance in the adjudication of multiparty accidents," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 69-85, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:19:y:1999:i:1:p:69-85
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mathewson, Frank & Winter, Ralph, 1994. "Territorial Restrictions in Franchise Contracts," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(2), pages 181-192, April.
    2. G.F. Mathewson & R.A. Winter, 1984. "An Economic Theory of Vertical Restraints," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 27-38, Spring.
    3. Rey, Patrick & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "The Logic of Vertical Restraints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 921-939, December.
    4. Varian, Hal R., 1989. "Price discrimination," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 597-654 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eberhard Feess & Gerd Muehlheusser & Ansgar Wohlschlegel, 2009. "Environmental liability under uncertain causation," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 133-148, October.
    2. Mattiacci, Giuseppe Dari & Parisi, Francesco, 2003. "The cost of delegated control: vicarious liability, secondary liability and mandatory insurance," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 453-475, December.

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