Humanity in Tort: Does Personality Affect Personal Injury Litigation?

Professor Richard Lewis of Cardiff University has written an interesting paper for the journal Current Legal Problems (also available for download on SSRN) entitled Humanity in Tort: Does Personality Affect Personal Injury Litigation?

The article article examines whether the character of people involved in personal injury claims affects their outcome irrespective of the legal rules. For example, does the personality or background of the litigants or their lawyers (or that of the judge) influence whether an action succeeds and how much damages are then paid?

Professor Lewis distinguishes small claim ‘settlement mills’ where where there may be little scope for individuals to affect the routine processing of small claims. By contrast, in more serious injury cases character and personality are more likely to make a difference. He concludes:

…the personality and character of various parties involved in personal injury litigation can affect its outcome irrespective of the formal legal rules prescribed in the law of tort. Claimants, lawyers and insurance representatives can all influence the result. In a few cases the individual defendant can also be important and, in cases that go to trial, the judge.



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