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Abstract

In many cases liability is attributed in a different way than through the clear cut situation where one tortfeasor causes harm to one single victim. Those cases of complicated attributions in tort law are analyzed in this article from an economic perspective. After briefly sketching the economic starting points in section II, the way in which multiple tortfeasors are dealt with in the law is analyzed in section III. Section IV analyzes the perspective of multiple tortfeasors in law and economics, distinguishing between the situations of full solvency, insolvency and insurability of more particularly joint and several liability. The article then shifts attention to one particular phenomenon, channeling of liability, whereby the legislature exclusively attributes liability to one (of many possible) tortfeasor(s). Section V analyzes this phenomenon from an economic as well as an insurability perspective. Finally, section VI examines the situation where someone other than the original tortfeasor may be held liable—the case of vicarious liability. In all cases the question is addressed whether these deviations from the original attribution make sense from an economic and insurability perspective. The crucial question is obviously to what extent the legal rules found in various legal systems correspond with the idea of providing all parties who could prevent an accident appropriate incentives to effectively do so.

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