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This report summarizes results of legal actions that claimants pursued to recover their losses in major aviation accidents. In particular, it attempts to determine why some cases settle early and others do not. The authors describe the elements that distinguish air-crash litigation. They discuss the simple correlation between economic loss suffered and litigation process pursued, the theory behind the empirical models, and the operational definition of the empirical variables. The analysis indicates that, where large losses to survivors were involved, claimants were more likely to sue, to go to trial, and to have longer time to closure, indicating that the stakes are important in determining which cases make greater demands on the tort system.

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