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50 Colum. L. Rev. 300 (1950)
Recent Developments in Automobile Accident Compensation

handle is hein.journals/clr50 and id is 358 raw text is: RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ,IN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT
In 1932 the Columbia Committee to Study Compensation for
Automobile Accidents made a Report concluding in favor of a sys-
tem of compensation for automobile accidents modeled on the work-
men's compensation laws. The Report was based on a careful fac-
tual study of accidents in ten widely scattered areas in the United
States, both in large cities and in smaller cities and rural commu-
nities. -The study showed that there was little chance of recovery
from any but insured motorists and brought ,out the hardships, to
the injured person and his dependents resulting both from his not
collecting damages and from the delays and costs of recovery. It
indicated the burden cast on public and private relief by injuries for
which no damages were paid. The study covered the various plans
then existing to improve the situation, through financial responsi-
bility laws and through the then recent Massachusetts Compulsory
Insurance Law, and included a statistical study of the effects of the
Massachusetts law and of the various financial responsibility laws
then in effect. In the Report was included a study of the law of
torts as applicable to automobile accidents as well as a study of the
costs, both to the parties and to the public, of court proceedings.
A carefully drafted compensation plan was submitted, with a per-
suasive memorandum by Professor Noel T. Dowling supporting its
This-Report, combining the legal and the factual elements in
automobile accidents, aroused wide attention and was much dis-
cussed pro and con. Its factual conclusions' have not been seriously
questioned, but the remedy has not been accepted as yet in any state
of the Union. It: has, however, had an effect in stimulating discus-
sion and, I believe, greater legislative attention to improving finan-
cial responsibility laws as an answer to the challenge raised by the
Mr. Grad's study tests the conclusions of the Report in the
light of developments since it was published. He has also taken into
consideration the developments in the law of torts to see how far
that law is becoming a more satisfactory instrument for meeting the
social problem of automobilp injuries. His article should stimulate
new thinking on an urgent problem.
In 1948, 8,200,000 automobile accidents were reported in the United
States. Fatalities growing out of these numbered 32,000,1 and the number
* This Article was written in connection with a legislative study undertaken by the
Legislative Drafting Research Fund of Columbia Law School. Completed October 1, 1949.
1. NATioIAL SAirmy Couxcm, AcCJENT FAcTs 40 (1949).

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