Unité mixte de recherche 7235

Expert opinion in a tort litigation game

Yves Oytana, Nathalie Chappe

[en]We investigate the potential impact of various proposed reforms intended to improve the quality of expert testimony while reducing its cost, and to facilitate the work of judges in appointing experts and reading their reports. To do so, we present a unilateral care model under strict liability in which the court cannot perfectly observe the amount of harm a tortfeasor has caused to a victim. However, the judge may appoint an expert to improve his chance of reaching a correct decision. In this context, we find that the likelihood of a victim filing a lawsuit decreases with the quality of the expert testimony and with the cost of the expertise procedure, and increases with the non-monetary cost for the judge to appoint an expert. Moreover, we find that the effects of these parameters on the injurer’s level of precaution are ambiguous. We also find that the injurer’s level of care is suboptimal. Finally, we make some public policy recommendations in order to (i) increase the injurer’s level of care and (ii) reduce the expected cost of a trial in the event of an accident. We find that the policy maker faces a trade-off between these two objectives.[/en]

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