Is it Really Not About the Money? Victim Needs Following Personal Injury and Property Loss and Their Relative Restoration Through Monetary Compensation and Apology

50 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2018  

Chris Reinders Folmer

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Law; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Faculty of Social Sciences

Pieter Desmet

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Law

Willem H. Van Boom

Leiden Law School

Date Written: June 26, 2017

Abstract

Tort law currently debates the value of facilitating apology, particularly in the domain of personal injury litigation, where victims’ immaterial needs are claimed to be neglected by monetary remedies. However, insight on its remedial value is limited, as extant evidence does not yet illuminate 1) which immaterial needs victims experience in tort situations, 2) how prominent these needs are relative to their material needs, 3) how monetary remedies may redress either need, 4) how apologies contribute beyond this, and 5) how this may impact case resolution (i.e., settlement decisions). We present two experimental studies that illuminate these questions by demonstrating that 1) tort victims experience several distinctive immaterial needs (for interpersonal treatment, responsibility taking, punishment, and closure); 2) these needs are relatively less prominent than victims’ material needs, and no more prominent in personal injury cases than following exclusively pecuniary loss; 3) greater monetary compensation enhances the satisfaction of both victims’ material and immaterial needs; 4) apologies further enhance their satisfaction beyond monetary compensation; 5) however, apology had little impact on settlement, which remained mostly contingent on monetary compensation. No indications were found that apologies are especially effective in personal injury cases (relative to exclusively pecuniary loss). Implications are provided for the role of apology in tort law.

Keywords: Apology, nonpecuniary loss, pecuniary loss, personal injury, property loss, immaterial needs, damages, settlement  

Suggested Citation

Reinders Folmer, Chris and Desmet, Pieter and Van Boom, Willem H., Is it Really Not About the Money? Victim Needs Following Personal Injury and Property Loss and Their Relative Restoration Through Monetary Compensation and Apology (June 26, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3156149 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3156149

Chris Reinders Folmer (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Faculty of Social Sciences ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062
Netherlands

Pieter Desmet

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Willem H. Van Boom

Leiden Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 9520
2300 RA Leiden, NL-2300RA
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.professorvanboom.eu

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