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Expert opinion in a tort litigation game

  • Oytana, Yves
  • Chappe, Nathalie
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2016
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We investigate the potential impact of various proposed reforms intended to improvethe quality of expert testimony while reducing its cost, and to facilitate the work ofjudges in appointing experts and reading their reports. To do so, we present a unilateralcare model under strict liability in which the court cannot perfectly observe theamount of harm a tortfeasor has caused to a victim. However, the judge may appointan expert to improve his chance of reaching a correct decision. In this context, wefind that the likelihood of a victim filing a lawsuit decreases with the quality of theexpert testimony and with the cost of the expertise procedure, and increases with thenon-monetary cost for the judge to appoint an expert. Moreover, we find that thee↵ects of these parameters on the injurer’s level of precaution are ambiguous. We alsofind that the injurer’s level of care is suboptimal. Finally, we make some public policyrecommendations in order to (i) increase the injurer’s level of care and (ii) reduce theexpected cost of a trial in the event of an accident. We find that the policy maker facesa trade-o↵ between these two objectives.

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