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Journal of Tort Law

Founded by Coleman, Jules

Editor-in-Chief: Robinette, Christopher

Editorial Board Member: Geistfeld, Mark A / Goldberg, John / Perry, Ronen / Sharkey, Catherine M. / Witt, John / Zipursky, Benjamin

2 Issues per year

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.241
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Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.227

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Is Personal Injury Law Personal?

Zoë Sinel
  • Faculty of Law, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
  • :
Published Online: 2015-03-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jtl-2015-0001


This essay responds to Jeffrey O’Connell’s critique of fault-based tort liability. Behind O’Connell’s argument for no-fault liability lies the notion that “accidents” simply happen and no one is to blame for them. This idea can be seen as a species of philosophical arguments surrounding the perceived unfairness of moral luck. In reply, this essay outlines several responses to moral luck, ultimately siding with a position that accommodates both the apparent randomness of accidents with a coherent justification for personal legal responsibility. The essay’s position, however, assumes an answer to the precise feature of tort law that O’Connell found problematic and unjustified, namely, that this defendant has a particular reason to pay this plaintiff. In response, the essay offers a defense of the personal nature of tort law’s remedial personal obligations.

Keywords: personal injury law; injury law; Jeffrey O’Connell

Published Online: 2015-03-31

Published in Print: 2013-01-01

Citation Information: Journal of Tort Law. Volume 6, Issue 1-2, Pages 145–172, ISSN (Online) 1932-9148, ISSN (Print) 2194-6515, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jtl-2015-0001, March 2015

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