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The Decision for Accidents: An Approach to Non-Fault Allocation of Costs, 78 Harvard Law Review 713 (1965)


Although it may seem desirable to seek to eliminate accident-causing activities, virtually all societies decide that many activities, though certain to cause some accidents, are nonetheless valuable enough to be allowed. Professor Calabresi examines this "decision for accidents" in light of the goals of accident law such as deterrence and compensation. Although he does not propose a specific liability plan or scheme, he formulates a theoretical framework for nonfault liability in which risky activities reflect in their market prices the cost of their accidents, and in which specific "useless" conduct is deterred by criminal and semicriminal penalties. He next analyzes what is meant by "costs of accidents" and concludes with an examination of the methods of allocating accident costs to the activities involved in accidents.

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