Kenneth Abraham headshot

Kenneth S. Abraham

Unit: School of Law
Department: School of Law
Office location and address
580 Massie Rd
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
J.D. Yale Law School 1971
A.B. Indiana University 1967

Kenneth Abraham is one of the nation’s leading scholars and teachers in the fields of torts and insurance law. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a life member of the American Law Institute. For 20 years he served on the Council of the ALI — the board of lawyers, judges and academics that governs the Institute. He is also an adviser to the ALI’s Restatement of Torts (Third) and Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance. He has served on a number of other boards and commissions concerned with tort law and insurance reform.

Abraham is a recipient of the All-University of Virginia Outstanding Teacher Award, the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Certificate from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia for "outstanding achievement in teaching, research and public service,” and the American Bar Association's Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award, given for "outstanding contributions to tort and insurance law." He has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and Case Western Reserve Law School.

Abraham is the author of more than 60 law review articles and five books. His first book, "Distributing Risk: Insurance, Legal Theory, and Public Policy" (1986), brought modern legal theory to the study of insurance law. His torts treatise, "The Forms and Functions of Tort Law" (5th ed. 2017), has become a basic text for first-year law students across the country. And his casebook, "Insurance Law and Regulation" (6th ed. 2015) has been used as the principal text in courses on insurance law in more than 100 American law schools.

Abraham has been a consulting counsel and an expert witness in a variety of major insurance coverage cases, involving commercial general liability, directors and officers liability, environmental cleanup liability, toxic tort and products liability, and property insurance claims. He has also served as an arbitrator for the Dalkon Shield Claimants Trust, resolving over 100 claims by women seeking damages for injuries caused by the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device, both in the United States and Europe.

LAW 6007: Torts
Credits: 4
The course examines liability for civil wrongs that do not arise out of contract. It explores three standards of conduct: liability for intentional wrongdoing, negligence, and liability without fault, or strict liability, and other issues associated with civil liability, such as causation, damages, and defenses. Battery, medical malpractice, products liability, and tort reform will also be covered.
LAW 7043: Insurance
Credits: 3
This course provides a working knowledge of basic insurance law governing insurance contract formation, insurance regulation, property, life, health, disability, and liability insurance, and claims processes. The emphasis throughout is on the link between traditional insurance law doctrine and modern ideas about the functions of private law.
LAW 7172: Liability Insurance Law
Credits: 2
Course addresses the major issues associated with the various forms of insurance that cover legal liability, including Commercial General, Auto, Directors & Officers, Homeowners, and Renters Liability insurance. The course combines close readings of policy language with practical analysis of the forces that influence litigation and the principles and policies that bear on the interpretation and application of policy language to coverage claims.