Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price
Add to Cart Paperback3 pages Free

This article explores patterns of blaming identified in a nationally representative survey of traumatic-injury victims in the United States, conducted by the RAND Institute for Civil Justice in 1991. More than half of all respondents who attributed at least partial causation for their injury to human behavior blamed themselves. But there were significant differences across accident types. Respondents injured in product-related or slip-and-fall accidents blamed themselves, and those injured in work-related incidents were equally likely to blame themselves or someone else. But in motor vehicle accidents, fully 75 percent of victims blamed someone else for their injuries. One possible explanation for the behavior of auto accident victims is the psychological notion of "scripts" — we blame others for auto accidents because newspaper ads and commercials, among other influences, make blaming the other driver the default behavior for this situation.

Originally published in: Chance, Vol. 6, No. 4, Fall 1993, pp. 31-33.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.