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The Psychology of Tort Law$
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Jennifer K. Robbennolt and Valerie P. Hans

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780814724941

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814724941.001.0001

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The Real World of Torts

The Real World of Torts

(p.8) 1 The Real World of Torts
The Psychology of Tort Law

Jennifer K. Robbennolt

Valerie P. Hans

NYU Press

This chapter describes the “real world” of torts by describing patterns in the ways in which tort cases are litigated—or not. Key patterns include the high rates at which injured persons choose to lump it rather than bringing a claim; the ways in which injuries are transformed into tort claims through a process of naming, blaming, and claiming; significant attrition from the formal process (the dispute pyramid); increasingly infrequent trials, a trend known as the vanishing trial. The chapter describes the motives of litigants for bringing and defending tort cases, the ways in which attorneys and litigants make decisions about settlement, and the role of insurance throughout the process.

Keywords:   dispute pyramid, insurance, lump it, motives, naming, blaming, and claiming, settlement, vanishing trial

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