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The Effect of Legal Rules on the Value of Economic and Non-economic Damages and the Decision to File

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  • Browne, Mark J
  • Puelz, Robert

Abstract

This study focuses on the economic consequences of tort reform. In particular, we address two issues. First, we test the relationship between tort reforms and claim severity for an automobile liability incident while controlling for a variety of cost drivers including the presence of no-fault rules, and the impact of a plaintiff's attorney. In addition to examining the effect of tort reforms on total claim severity, we also test their effect on economic and non-economic damages separately. Second, we test the proposition that tort reforms, by reducing the damages available at trial, have reduced the likelihood that an injured party will seek legal remedy. Both aspects of this study are examined with individual data from a large sample of insurance claims from 61 insurers. Our results suggest that many of the reforms have had a statistically significantly effect on total damages, non-economic damages and economic damages. Caps on non-economic damages, collateral source rule reforms, and minor reforms impacting prejudgment interest, frivolous suits, and provisions for periodic payments are negatively related to the value of non-economic claims, while joint and several reform is positively related to the value of non-economic claims. We find collateral source rule reforms and minor reforms are negatively related to the value of economic claims. We find that caps on non-economic damages and minor reforms are associated with a decreased probability to file. We do not find any evidence that joint and several or collateral source rule reform is associated with the decision to file. Copyright 1999 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Browne, Mark J & Puelz, Robert, 1999. "The Effect of Legal Rules on the Value of Economic and Non-economic Damages and the Decision to File," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 189-213, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:18:y:1999:i:2:p:189-213
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yeh Jason Jia-Hsing, 2009. "Missing (Completely?) At Random: Lessons from Insurance Studies," Asia-Pacific Journal of Risk and Insurance, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-13, April.
    2. Ayuso, Mercedes & Bermúdez, Lluís & Santolino, Miguel, 2015. "The dynamics of one-sided incomplete information in motor disputes," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 77-85.
    3. repec:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9486-z is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Josh Lerner, 2010. "The Litigation of Financial Innovations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(4), pages 807-831.
    5. Miguel Santolino & Jean-Philippe Boucher, 2009. "Modelling the disability severity score in motor insurance claims: an application to the Spanish case," IREA Working Papers 200902, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Jan 2009.
    6. Janet Currie & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2008. "First Do No Harm? Tort Reform and Birth Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 795-830.
    7. Ronen Avraham, 2007. "An Empirical Study of the Impact of Tort Reforms on Medical Malpractice Settlement Payments," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S2), pages 183-229, June.
    8. Joan T. Schmit & Jia-Hsing Yeh, 2003. "An Economic Analysis of Auto Compensation Systems: Choice Experiences From New Jersey and Pennsylvania," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 70(4), pages 601-628.
    9. Rubin Paul H. & Shepherd Joanna M., 2008. "The Demographics of Tort Reform," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 591-620, December.
    10. Anca Cotet, 2009. "Tort Reform and the Demand for Medical Care: Evidence from State-by-State Variation in Non-Economic Damages Caps," Working Papers 200901, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2010.
    11. Mercedes Ayuso & Lluís Bermúdez & Miguel Santolino, 2011. "“Influence of the claimant’s behavioural features on motor compensation outcomes”," IREA Working Papers 201108, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Jun 2011.
    12. Cotet-Grecu, Anca, 2015. "The impact of non-economic damages caps on obstetrics: Incentives versus practice style," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 29-41.
    13. Paul H. Rubin & Joanna M. Shepherd, 2007. "Tort Reform and Accidental Deaths," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 221-238.
    14. Santolino, Miguel, 2010. "Determinants of the decision to appeal against motor bodily injury judgements made by Spanish trial courts," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 37-45, March.
    15. Yong-Woo Lee, 2013. "Testing for the Presence of Moral Hazard Using the Regulatory Reform in the Car Insurance Market: Case of Korea," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 414-429, September.

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