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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 26, 2007

Roles of Government in Compensating Disaster Victims

Stephen D Sugarman

First explored are the nature of disasters – societal and individual, natural and manmade – and the place of both tort law and private insurance in providing compensation for disaster victims. Following brief discussions of disaster prevention and the sorts of private and public harms that are caused by disasters, five possible roles of government with respect to individual victim compensation are examined: 1) Facilitating the Receipt of Private Compensation for the Consequences of a Disaster; 2) Assuring Insurance Availability for Disaster Victims When the Market Fails to Do So; 3) Providing Victim Compensation Either When Government Should Have Prevented the Disaster or When It Is the Sort of Disaster We Aspire to Have Government Prevent; 4) Providing Victim Compensation as an Alternative to Tort Recovery; and 5) Providing Victim Assistance to Overwhelmed Communities For Reasons of Altruism and National Solidarity. Finally, brief attention is given to the type and level of victim compensation that government might assure.

Published Online: 2007-1-26

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