Zoë Sinel, ‘Is Personal Injury Law Personal?’

Abstract:
This essay responds to Jeffrey O’Connell’s critique of fault-based tort liability. Behind O’Connell’s argument for no-fault liability lies the notion that ‘accidents’ simply happen and no one is to blame for them. This idea can be seen as a species of philosophical arguments surrounding the perceived unfairness of moral luck. In reply, this essay outlines several responses to moral luck, ultimately siding with a position that accommodates both the apparent randomness of accidents with a coherent justification for personal legal responsibility. The essay’s position, however, assumes an answer to the precise feature of tort law that O’Connell found problematic and unjustified, namely, that this defendant has a particular reason to pay this plaintiff. In response, the essay offers a defense of the personal nature of tort law’s remedial personal obligations.

Zoë Sinel, Is Personal Injury Law Personal? Journal of Tort Law, ISSN (Online) 1932-9148, ISSN (Print) 2194-6515, DOI: 10.1515/jtl-2015-0001, January 2015. Published Online: 2015-01-31.

First posted 2015-02-03 05:12:50

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