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NCJ Number: 72763 Find in a Library
Title: On the Compensation of Victims of Torts
Journal: Victimology  Volume:5  Issue:1  Dated:(1980)  Pages:42-50
Author(s): E T Fujii
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper argues that the court-accepted method of proof currently used in cases of personal injury and wrongful death is flawed and that the method of evaluation should be revised.
Abstract: Specifically, the problems lie with the criterion of valuing life and limb, a criterion inconsistent with economic theory. The standard method of proof requires the expert witness to collect evidence of past earnings, place the individual into a statistical group for which wage data are available, and project wages into the future in order to compute the present value of lost earnings. However, the richness of detail contained in earnings tables is quite limited, resulting in incomplete characterizations of potential earnings. Furthermore, the structure of damages under tort law generally results in the undercompensation of plaintiffs. In addition, the death of the victim becomes less expensive than injury, reducing the incentive to potential tortfeasors to reduce harm at the margin. More fundamentally, the methodology underlying the proof of damages is flawed and is likely to result in some undercompensation to plaintiffs as, for example, when the law of damages bases damages on a 40 rather than a 168-hour-week. Footnotes and 22 references are given.
Index Term(s): Torts; United States of America; Victim compensation
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