Der Einwand rechtmässigen Alternativverhaltens - Rechtsvergleich, Ökonomische Analyse und Implikationen für die Proportionalhaftung

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract The German doctrine of "Rechtmässiges Alternativverhalten" is a defence which allows the tortfeasor to steer free from any compensatory claim for harm that would also have occurred if he had exercised due care. A comparative legal analysis reveals that this doctrine and its equivalent in common law, often viewed as an issue of causation, are recognized across jurisdictions. Its purpose is to prevent over-compensation. From an economic perspective, over-compensation can be shown to be harmful in a negligence based liability system, if court decisions are bound to be imprecise due to difficulties in fact-finding. Hence, under this very realistic scenario, the doctrine serves an important efficiency purpose by improving the quality of negligence based liability rules. However, the defence and its functional equivalents are not generally recognized by courts if the hypothetical course of action under due care is uncertain. This is because under standard rules of proof, the court would often have to rule against the plaintiff if the latter cannot establish up to a certain probability threshold that the defendant's deviation from due care caused the harm. In this case the courts often rule against the defendant, effectively ignoring the defence. This reintroduces the identified inefficiencies due to over-compensation. Assessing liability proportional to the probability that harm was caused by the defendant can be shown to solve this problem. Moreover, the article agues that the application of the proportional liability rule also has a strong doctrinal appeal. It follows from the consistent application of the doctrine of "Rechtmässges Alternativverhalten" and the causation requirement to situations of uncertainty.
Authors Grechenig, Kristoffel
Projects Berndt, Thomas; Bertschinger, Urs; Gasser, Urs; Geiser, Thomas; Häusermann, Daniel M.; Hettich, Peter; Hilf, Marianne Johanna; Koller, Alfred; Kolmar, Martin; Möslein, Florian; Nobel, Peter; Roberto, Vito; Thouvenin, Florent; Thurman, James; van Aaken, Anne & Wildhaber, Isabelle (2010) Unternehmen - Recht, Innovation und Risiko [fundamental research project]
Journal or Publication Title Rabels Zeitschrift für Ausländisches und Internationales Privatrecht (RabelsZ)
Language German
Keywords Haftung unter Risiko und Unsicherheit, Hypothetische Kausalität, Proportionalhaftung, probabilistische Haftung
Subjects law
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
Refereed Yes
Date 1 January 2009
Publisher Mohr Siebeck
Place of Publication Tübingen
Volume 73
Number 2
Page Range 336-371
Number of Pages 36
ISSN 0033-7250
ISSN-Digital 1868-7059
Depositing User Kristoffel Grechenig
Date Deposited 17 Sep 2008 11:37
Last Modified 10 Feb 2010 23:38


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Grechenig, Kristoffel (2009) Der Einwand rechtmässigen Alternativverhaltens - Rechtsvergleich, Ökonomische Analyse und Implikationen für die Proportionalhaftung. Rabels Zeitschrift für Ausländisches und Internationales Privatrecht (RabelsZ), 73 (2). 336-371. ISSN 0033-7250

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