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Allocating Liability among Several Physicians: A Theoretical Model

Dylan Martin-Lapoirie

Review of Law & Economics, 2022, vol. 18, issue 3, 297-324

Abstract: Healthcare treatment can be considered a credence good; that is, the patient may not always be able to infer quality ex ante nor observe it ex post. In this article, we study the allocation of liability among two physicians for joint damage under two liability regimes: strict liability and the negligence rule. The credence characteristic implies that the patient imperfectly detects treatment error. We find that the negligence rule is more deterrent than strict liability if the probability of detection of treatment error by the patient is high. If the probability of detection is low, both liability regimes are equivalent. An efficient allocation rule should be based on the degree of substitutability between the precaution levels of the physicians and the probability that the patient detects treatment error.

Keywords: liability; medical malpractice; multiple injurers (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 I10 K13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1515/rle-2021-0079

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