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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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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 16 May 2021

Products Liability

Products Liability

Chapter:
(p.168) 8 Products Liability
Source:
The Psychology of Tort Law
Author(s):

Jennifer K. Robbennolt

Valerie P. Hans

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814724941.003.0009

This chapter takes a closer look at a particular subset of cases in tort law – those involving products liability. The way the law handles manufacturing defects—through strict liability—implicates intuitions about the circumstances under which defendants should be held responsible in the absence of negligence. How decision makers assess design defects involves the attribution of responsibility and negligence, and raises additional psychological issues related to betrayal aversion and cost-benefit analysis. Nuanced assessment of the adequacy of warnings must take into account the human factors related to noticing, reading or otherwise decoding, understanding, and following product warnings. Looking at tort law through the lens of products liability also affords an opportunity to explore the psychology of mass torts and the effects of plaintiffs joining together in groups to make their claims. Because products liability cases almost always involve corporate defendants, this chapter explores the psychology of holding a collective entity responsible for having caused harm.

Keywords:   betrayal aversion, corporate defendants, cost-benefit analysis, human factors, manufacturing defects, mass torts, products liability, strict liability, warnings

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