Thursday, May 19, 2011

Luck in Tort Law

So far we have talked about criminal law.  Criminal law covers cases where a crime has been committed in violation of the law.  Criminal law depends on guilty intent and breaches which make us liable to punishement.  Civil law, or torts, does not deal with crimes that are met with punishment.  Tort law has to do with accidents and cases of negligence where instead of punishment, the offender must repay the victim or restore the victim to a prior state.  For example, if there is a fender-bender, tort law deals with the issues of who is financially responsible to repair the damage.

The main question of tort law is who should pay for damages.  With regards to luck, the question is whether a person should have to pay for an unlucky accident.  A further question is how much he negligent driver should pay.  Waldron thinks that society should also be liable for damages.  In other words, when an unlucky accident happens, the government pays for damage.  Liability for risk is socialized.  Our current system is a modest form of socialized liability because we must pay for insurance, which in turn makes the insurance company liable to pay for the damages of an accident.  Waldron thinks that we need more than just insurance.  He thinks that we need a system that fully socializes the liability of risk.

Next week, we will explore Waldron's view in detail.

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