Tort Liability and Unawareness

Georgetown University Law Center Research Paper No. Forthcoming

(2022). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. 2067.

38 Pages Posted: 29 May 2018 Last revised: 7 Feb 2024

See all articles by Surajeet Chakravarty

Surajeet Chakravarty

University of Exeter Business School

David Kelsey

Nottingham University Business School

Joshua C. Teitelbaum

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: February 5, 2024

Abstract

We explore the implications of unawareness for tort law. We study cases where injurers and victims initially are unaware that some acts can yield harmful consequences, or that some acts or harmful consequences are even possible, but later become aware. Following Karni and Vierø (2013), we model unawareness by Reverse Bayesianism. We compare the two basic liability rules of Anglo-American tort law, negligence and strict liability, and argue that negligence has an important advantage over strict liability in a world with unawareness—negligence, through the stipulation of due care standards, spreads awareness about the updated probability of harm.

Keywords: tort law, negligence, strict liability, unawareness, Reverse Bayesianism

JEL Classification: D83, K13

Suggested Citation

Chakravarty, Surajeet and Kelsey, David and Teitelbaum, Joshua C., Tort Liability and Unawareness (February 5, 2024). Georgetown University Law Center Research Paper No. Forthcoming, (2022). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. 2067., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3179753 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3179753

Surajeet Chakravarty

University of Exeter Business School ( email )

Xfi Building, Rennes Dr.
Exeter, EX4 4JH
United Kingdom

David Kelsey

Nottingham University Business School ( email )

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/business/people/lizdk2.html

Joshua C. Teitelbaum (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-661-6589 (Phone)

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