Towards a Global Model for Adjudicating Personal Injury Damages: Bridging Europe and the United States

109 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2006

See all articles by Giovanni Comandé

Giovanni Comandé

LIDER-Lab, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna


Techniques for awarding personal injury damages assume an increasing interest in times of frequent mobility of individuals. Assessing non-economic damages might require more harmonized answers to provide justice and equal treatment across the world. Indeed, in most countries a lasting debate surrounds noneconomic damages for personal injury. Specifically, an alleged constant increase in awards and the difficulties linked to the subjectivity of their assessment, and the selection of the institution that is best suited to award these damages and how it should do so are but a few problems that are addressed by contemporary scholarship. However, this extensive debate has not sufficiently explored the techniques for awarding intangible loss damages in personal injury by using a comparative law methodology.

Filling this gap, this article explores the latest developments in awarding noneconomic damages. It further proposes an analysis of the American and European experiences which aims to bridge these two legal cultures for mutual benefit.

By way of comparative and historical analysis, Part I highlights the significant trend in American and European jurisdictions, which consists of distinguishing non-economic damages based on objective criteria stemming from an ascertainable medical condition. Building on these results, Parts II and III develop a more efficient conceptual framework and further propose better assessment tools in awarding these damages. This method demonstrates the benefits the United States could gain by introducing innovative judicial scheduling, without triggering either constitutional concerns or statutory intervention while building upon the existing strengths of the European experience and the American judicial system. For instance, Normalized Value Scheduling would endow actual judges and jurors with the necessary expertise, increasing horizontal and vertical equality without necessarily impeding an inevitable variability of awards among different jurisdictions.

Keywords: Comparative law, Personal injury, damages, tort, judicial scheduling, civil jury, pain and suffering, intangible loss, tort, law and economics, American law, European law, loss of enjoyment of life

JEL Classification: K10, K13, K00, K30, K40

Suggested Citation

Comandé, Giovanni, Towards a Global Model for Adjudicating Personal Injury Damages: Bridging Europe and the United States. Temple International & Comparative Law Journal, Vol. 19, No. 2, January 2006. Available at SSRN:

Giovanni Comandé (Contact Author)

LIDER-Lab, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna ( email )

Piazza dei Martiri della Liberta 33
56127 Pisa, 56100


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