Forums > Social Discussion > Pros and cons of the 'sue culture'

Login/Join to Participate
Page: 12
onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:This was originally a reply to this post from a different thread but I realised that it would take it off topic to post it on that thread (which is about mobile phones); and, that the 'sue culture' issue is quite an emotive and relevant one which would make an interesting thread in it's own right.



Most people hate the 'sue culture', I can see a few benefits to it in some circumstances (ie I know it's got some really bad aspects as well and I want to make it clear from the start that I'm not supporting it as a whole).



Written by:






Its the same with injury lawers adn personal calim adverts where you have a pathetic re-enactment and an actor saying how please they were they got 3,500 for falling over in a reallymonotone voice! The worst one is the waitress in the resturant who slipped over a bit of food which hadnt been cleaned up! If she'd been looking were she was going then she could have avoided it!!! It was a kitchen!!!







I think there's pros and cons to the 'sue' culture.



In that specific example, there shouldn't have been food on the floor; it's all well and good to say she should have been looking where she's going, but that's not practical when you're rushed, and the tray of food/drink you're carrying means you can't see the ground.



I was reading an article about disabled access laws yesterday. Apparently, in America, most employees pretty much ignored these when they required modifications in their buildings.



So the disabled lobby hired aggressive lawyers, until it became clear to the companies that not complying with the regulations would work out more expensive than doing the modifications (due to court costs).



Obviously it's not clear cut, and there's points of view on both sides, but, certainly from the perspective of disabled people who want normal access, that's a pro to the 'sue culture'?


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete Topic

DragonFury
Draco Iracundia
Location: Adelaide
Member Since: 11th Mar 2005
Total posts: 784
Posted:It drives me crazy when people sue over the most stupid things. Like people who trip over a step into a shop/resturant and sue cos they got a bruise. Or the guy that spilt his maccas coffee and sued maccas cos it was hot and he got burnt.
There are many stupid examples, i'll look for more tomorrow. People are just to lazy to look out for their own safty.

but i think the disabled lobby thing was good, it happened in OZ a little aswell.


Do we sleep when we die?

Delete

onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: DragonFury

It drives me crazy when people sue over the most stupid things.....

like the guy that spilt his maccas coffee and sued maccas cos it was hot and he got burnt.



Really?

Have you got a link to any reports/articles on that?

One thing to bear in mind is that, however well implemented these things are, there's always going to be incidents of real stupidity; and it's those incidents that are going to get loads of publicity.

Whereas, the cases where it works well and gives a good outcome, aren't going to be picked up on to the same extent by the media.

For example, the fact that a disabled person can now access a particular building as a result of a court case, or threatened court case; is not going to hit the headlines like someone suing a coffee company on the grounds that their coffee is hot.

---------

The funniest example I saw was an interview on TV with a upper class lady who had given a dinner party at home.

Unfortunately one her chairs broke, and the person who'd been using it fell, and, later, took her to court.

There was this brilliant clip of her face, with this tragic look, as she said-

"One doesn't expect to be sued by one's dinner guests!"

smile


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

.:star:.
.:star:.

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 6th Jan 2005
Total posts: 1785
Posted:i can see why people get annoyed at the whole sue culture and often i do too BUT i have made a claim which i would like to think wasn't too petty.

I was working for dominoes pizza when i was 18 and they sent me out delivering on a moped. I was coming out of someones driveway at about 5mph and i put on the brakes and the seat fell off the moped and i landed in a crumpled heap on the floor, under the moped! I had broken my wrist and severly bruised my knees.

When i went back into work to see them, they said, 'oh sorry, we should have warned you about the wonky seat'
I was so shocked that they knew about it and hadn't even told me i was riding a dangerous vehicle. THey also refused to report to the health and safety comission (or who ever it is) and when i did (because it is a legal requirement to report any RTAs whilst working) they told me that there was no job waiting for me after i recovered.

The reason i sued them (and i got 4500) wasn't so much for the money but because of their attitude. They knew that they had put me at risk and didn't care.

I would never sue someone just for the sake of money but if it would help other people in the future..such the disabled access or preventing someone from being injured by the same thing in the future then i think that it can be worthwhile.


Delete

onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Well done!

There's way too much of that kind of attitude around from some employers who hire young people (who are less likely to know of, or know how to stand up for, their rights) to work with ill maintained/unsafe equipment.

I bet there's plenty of people who, unlike you, would have just let it go by, either through not knowing what else to do, or through fear of losing the job.

If anything it sounds like they got off lightly- a broken wrist is a tiresome injury that could well prevent you earning for over six weeks.

It's lucky the seat fell of at 5 mph coming out of a driveway; it could have been at 40 mph on a dual carriageway.

IMO this kind of thing exactly conveys the plus aspects of the sue culture- in the past employers with this kind of cowboy attitude could get away with treating employees like dirt, and, if they didn't like it, sack them.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

TheBovrilMonkey
TheBovrilMonkey

Liquid Cow
Location: High Wycombe, England
Member Since: 3rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 2629
Posted:I'm not going to dig out a link because I don't have much time on here this evening, but I've changed my mind about the McDonalds hot coffee case since I read up on it.
Supposedly, the McDonalds employees knew that the coffee machine thermostat wasn't working properly, but still served coffee at near boiling point.
The woman who sued did so after dropping the coffee into her lap and suffering some really quite horrible scalds.

I now think she was damned right to sue, there's a vast difference between spilling hot coffee and spilling coffee that's hot enough to cause blisters.


But there's no sense crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

Delete

flamazine
flamazine

journeyman
Location: Manchester
Member Since: 25th Apr 2005
Total posts: 91
Posted:If you have been injured as a result of someone else's gross negligence such as the broken thermostat and the moped seat then you are right to sue.

If you have a bad back and still go on a rollercoaster or if you fall of a kerb it's your own silly fault.

There are far too many people who hurt themselves and then try to pin the blame on someone to get a few grand compensation. These people are killing off all the ways to have fun. Look at how lame kids playgrounds are now and how hard it is to get decent insurance for performing with fire.

I recently go quite badly burnt (3% of my skin area, 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns) doing a fire stunt that went wrong, the people I was working with hadn't understood exactly what I wanted them to do and I ended up wearing a burning shirt. However, it was me who set the stunt up, me who asked the other people to help me and me who takes all the blame. I wouldn't dream of attempting to sue anyone over that and in a few months when my skin has grown back I should have some cool new scars!

Whenever those people with clipboards stop me in the street asking if I have had any accident or injuries I tell them to f**k off and get a proper job!!!

The white trash who do most of the spurious claims are living off the rest off us by putting our insurance costs up, if you hear of anyone doing a spurious claim, shop the b@7@8ds!


He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

Delete

.:star:.
.:star:.

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 6th Jan 2005
Total posts: 1785
Posted:i think the most stupid thing i have heard of is that a burglar can sue you if he hurts himself in your house when he's breaking in......how rediculous!?!?!?

The police had a stand at a show i was at last week and they were saying that people basically aren't allowed to do anything to protect their property (such as spikey bits on top of garden fences etc) incase it hurts someone.

Written by:
I bet there's plenty of people who, unlike you, would have just let it go by, either through not knowing what else to do, or through fear of losing the job.




People shouldn't be afraid of fighting for what is right. There are so many resources for finding out what your rights are (Citizens Advice Bureau in UK). I had an employer try say i wasn't entitled to my holiday pay so i armed myself with a pile of information from the CAB and they soon realised that they had to give me what i was entitled to. It often doesn't get as far as the courts if you are in the right.

It is so silly what people are managing to sue people for these days. If i sued everytime i tripped over something i would be a millionaire!


Delete

onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: starpoi


The police had a stand at a show i was at last week and they were saying that people basically aren't allowed to do anything to protect their property (such as spikey bits on top of garden fences etc) incase it hurts someone.





If you look on it as not being able to cement broken glass on your wall to prevent burglars, then that seems fair enough.

But that same broken glass will shred any non-burglars too, eg emergency services needing quick access to your home to, say, put out a fire; or young kids climbing it (admittedly, it's out-of-order for kids to be climbing on your wall, but, do they really deserve a maiming over it?).


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: flamazine

....how hard it is to get decent insurance for performing with fire.





Written by: flamazine


I recently go quite badly burnt (3% of my skin area, 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns) doing a fire stunt that went wrong, the people I was working with hadn't understood exactly what I wanted them to do and I ended up wearing a burning shirt.




I'm not saying that there's necessarily a correlation there.

Obviously no insurance claim involved, but, was it in front of an audience? Can you be sure that no-one in the audience who witnessed this mishap didn't work for, or have friends/relatives in insurance companies.

I'm sure there's been plenty of accidents like that at fire shows, and I'm sure that many of them get back to insurance companies, who adjust their prices accordingly.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: flamazine


The white trash who do most of the spurious claims are living off the rest off us by putting our insurance costs up.....





Is there any evidence to believe that the primary reason for higher insurance is the 'sue culture'?

Could it not be the case that the rises are also due to-

1. the huge increase of the number of people spinning fire/performing fire over the past decade

2. the fact that a fair proportion of them are far from professional and tend to have more accidents

3. growing awareness that fire performing is not, as used to be believed, a safe activity that looks dangerous, but is in fact actually dangerous. There's a lot more awareness of the numbers of people who've been maimed, or killed, during fire acts.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: starpoi
It is so silly what people are managing to sue people for these days. If i sued everytime i tripped over something i would be a millionaire!



But how do we know this? I know there's a good few stories of stupid suing going around, but-

1. Like I said above, those will tend to get loads of publicity, whereas, the stories of sueing that leads to public good are seen as boring, and therefore we don't get to hear about them

2. Are the stories about stupid sueing necessarily true? BovrilMonkey has kindly re-posted after looking into the coffee story he posted and finding out that, when the full facts are known, it was actually an example of totally justified legal action.

How many of the other stories of absurd sue cases are also innacurate. I'm starting to wonder if they're starting to border on being 'urban myths'


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Hi Dave,

Interesting topic, but I dont see any pros. I suppose it depends on what you mean by sue culture.

I see unnecessary litigation as fraud. Negligence, as in the example, where the employer was forcing people to work in an un-safe environment, is unacceptable. And for people who buy mcdonalds fat foods, and then turn around and sue mac donalds for selling them unsafe food. Hello!

Access for the disabled seems to be about being pro-active.

cheers smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

.:star:.
.:star:.

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol
Member Since: 6th Jan 2005
Total posts: 1785
Posted:i know that broken glass is dangerous and i would never use it to defend my house, i'm just amazed at the fact that a burglar can sue someone because they hurt themselves robbing them!

i tried searching to find some 'real claims' about suing for silly reasons and it does seem that a lot of it is just urban myths...that or i'm crap at searching! most of my results just brought up forums where people were having very similar conversations to us...including a hop thread...thus proving that hop is the centre of the universe!!

anyway, there seemed to be no actual cases as examples except the burglar who was suing because he got shot when he broke into someones house.


Delete

Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Dave, litigation is one of the reasons for higher insurance. In Australia, the collapse of HIH, the largest provider of public liability insurance, was the start, plus 911 and a seemingly increase in natural disasters.

Disasters like the Station Nightclub fire, Rhode Island dont help. Fire killied 97 people and injuring more than 180 when a pyrotechnic display by 80's band Great White ignited foam soundproofing insulation behind the stage.

Many community and voluntary organisations have been affected. Check this Choice article on public liability insurance crisis, for a good background information.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

Delete

becci
becci

Pancake Maker
Location: south wales
Member Since: 3rd Dec 2004
Total posts: 151
Posted:read this post when it was current, and events this week reminded me of it.....so i figured i would put forward the problem and see if anyone wants to offer their humble opinions.

on tuesday afternoon i got the dreaded call from my 4yr old sons school asking me to get there asap.
i arrived to find blood everywhere, 5 teachers panicking and my son screaming in agony.
during playtime his finger had been crushed by another child in the metal gates surrounding the younger childrens play area.

so i took him straight to casualty, he had his nail removed, 3 stitches and has a broken finger. so far we have spent 3 days this week in and out of various hospital departments, and he is back twice next week, hopefully then the stitches can come out and they can deal with the break. which will take several more weeks to mend.

I recieved a call from the head teacher the next morning saying that the gates were being removed that day as they were clearly dangerous. I am also concerned about the supervision they had at the time, as my son said the first teacher to get to him was the class assistant.....who told me she was inside!!!! when she heard him scream.

I know it is only a finger... but fortunately it was on his left hand, if it had been his right i would have been more concerned. but it has and is seriously affecting his and my life...not only the trauma of the incident and the hospital trips(and the expense of time, travel and post hospital treats), but he cant do the things he loves. for the next couple of months he cant go to gymnastics training (which he is very serious about and very good at, and was training for 4 hrs a week) and he cant swim either, which he was also doing really well at.

so.....the problem, well i didn't even consider it until some of the mums at school, and his gymnastics teacher suggested it.......but people have said i should sue the school.....i dont know cuz i dont like to cause trouble, but they have admitted it was their fault and i feel my son should get some sort of compensation for this.....and it could have been much worse, so maybe it will hilight safety in schools.
any thoughts????? please


Delete

munkypunks
munkypunks

enthusiast, but not enthusiastic
Location: Los Angeles, California
Member Since: 21st Jan 2005
Total posts: 367
Posted:"Obviously no insurance claim involved, but, was it in front of an audience? Can you be sure that no-one in the audience who witnessed this mishap didn't work for, or have friends/relatives in insurance companies.

I'm sure there's been plenty of accidents like that at fire shows, and I'm sure that many of them get back to insurance companies, who adjust their prices accordingly."

soapbox

I'm an attorney in the insurance industry in America, and I can tell you that, here at least, it doesn't work like this. It's all based on actuarial calculations of the statistical likelihood of accidents, injuries, and the extent of anticipated damages. An increase in ill-prepared people spinning fire (which probably causes more injuries), mentioned by someone else, is more likely to cause an increase in premiums than an insurance underwriter attending a fire performance. If they are 'professionals' taking out liability insurance for performances, the insurance company is more likely to look at their qualifications, training, etc. before issuing a policy. So hopefully total imbeciles won't be insurable.

becci, yours is exactly the type of situation that would generate a lawsuit in the US. And you'd probably have supporters as well as critics. Some people will say, hey, kids get hurt, get used to it. They've already taken the fence down, so you're not changing anything. But the lack of supervision is disturbing. These kids are 4, and there's no one outside with them?? As far as damages, here he could definitely get "pain and suffering" compensation, and did you have to pay for any of his medical tx? Did you lose pay because you were off of work taking him to the dr? Etc.

You may want to consult with a (don't know what they're called in Wales - barrister?) just to find out what your options are. It is completely your call. Hope your son is feeling better in the meantime!

And, onewheeldave, yes, many stories of stupid lawsuits are true. I deal with them frequently. E.g., we defended a lawsuit brought by a woman who took early retirement, set up her own transcription business, and then when there wasn't much work for her, claimed to be disabled. And a family who mailed in an application for life insurance on a guy who was already dead. Hello???? Many small businesses find it difficult or prohibitively expensive to get liability coverage because of all of the litigation going on. Many lawsuits are justified, of course; the difficulty is sifting out the chaff.

[as a disclaimer, I practice in California, which is known for its high litigation rate.]


You can't fall off the floor, but sometimes you need a chair to reach the cookie jar.

Delete

Kyrian
Dreamer
Location: York, England
Member Since: 15th Mar 2002
Total posts: 4308
Posted:Hey california lawyer boy- munkypunks- and anyone else who feels like commenting although people mentioned do live in America- is it justifiable to sue an insurance company for unfair discrimination (In this particular case a friend of mine couldn't get car insurance because his wife has a health problem....... its not HEALTH insurance, but CAR insurance. )
I mean, its definetly illegal for them to do this, and they should be stopped. But particuarly his wife, whos been disabled all her life, feels guilty for the taking of money and tying up of the courts for something which really only had a negative emotional effect. (Other companies are smart enough not to do this). Should it be done?

And about the school thing, I second munkypunks you should talk to a whoever handles that sort of thing for you and get their advice- they're usually pretty good at knowing whats what smile


Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

Delete

linden rathen
linden rathen

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: London, UK
Member Since: 2nd Mar 2005
Total posts: 6942
Posted:i think it boils down to what the purpose of litigation is

is it:
a) a good way of making money
b) a way to reclaim some money from an incident out of your control but in which you suffered
c) a way to force change through money

personally i think its b) - especially in cases where the person's life is severely affected - eg loosing a limb. if its someone else's fault (REALLY someone else's fault) then they should pay back some of the damage they caused

unfortunately as has already been said a lot of people see it as a) this i think is mainly because those that subscribe to compensation culture are also those who are incredibly lazy (a growing minority) and with companies making it easier its not surprising.

so while the blame is largely with those too lazy (or too ready to pass the blame) maybe its also a growing trend in law firms to go for the money? (no offence to those working in such firms this is just my view and aimed mainly at the 'claim now and make $$$' style firms).

slightly on an aside - why are we so ready to pass the blame? why is it that people are so ready to assert their rights but ignore their duties and responsibilities?


back

Delete

onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: becci


on tuesday afternoon i got the dreaded call from my 4yr old sons school asking me to get there asap.
i arrived to find blood everywhere, 5 teachers panicking and my son screaming in agony.
during playtime his finger had been crushed by another child in the metal gates surrounding the younger childrens play area.



Like munkypunks says, it sounds dodgy that 4 year olds were unsupervised.

Could be worth talking to some legal people just to see if you have a case; then take it from there.

Hope your little boy is making a good recovery.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: munkypunks


And, onewheeldave, yes, many stories of stupid lawsuits are true. I deal with them frequently. E.g., we defended a lawsuit brought by a woman who took early retirement, set up her own transcription business, and then when there wasn't much work for her, claimed to be disabled. And a family who mailed in an application for life insurance on a guy who was already dead. Hello???? Many small businesses find it difficult or prohibitively expensive to get liability coverage because of all of the litigation going on. Many lawsuits are justified, of course; the difficulty is sifting out the chaff.




But aren't they examples of attempted fraud, rather than the kind of insurance stories I was talking about?


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

munkypunks
munkypunks

enthusiast, but not enthusiastic
Location: Los Angeles, California
Member Since: 21st Jan 2005
Total posts: 367
Posted:kyrian, if her health problem doesn't affect her ability to drive, yes, probably under the ADA, they are not allowed to discriminate in the provision of services to the public. There's been a lot of controversy over whether insurance constitutes a service, however, and I'm not fully certain where the chips finally landed. Worth talking to someone about. If your wife has a legitimate case, someone will probably take it on contingency, or maybe there is a disability advocacy center that could take the case pro bono.

onewheeldave, I can't find a post in which you discuss legitimate insurance stories, so I'm not sure to what you're referring. If you mean the disability stories, yes, the ADA ("Americans with Disabilities Act") suits were the catalysts for positive changes. Similarly, in LA a consumer group sued the MTA and got a court order requiring the purchase of new buses and better maintenance of the existing ones. There are definitely benefical uses for litigation.

But the question I was responding to was whether the stories of stupid lawsuits are simply urban myths. They're not. I can give you stories of extortion arising out of the ADA. Some lawyers go around suing any business without a ramp out front, but then offer to dismiss the case for a nominal sum, say 1-5K. No ramp was ever put in, so the disabled didn't get the change they needed, but the lawyers made money. Etc. These are clearly fraud.

In other instances, there's a fine line between stupidity/greed and attempted fraud. And sometimes it's in the eye of the beholder. Like the dead guy example, the agent met with him and gave him the application while he was alive, and by coincidence he died like the next day; his wife [apparently] felt that she was entitled to send the application in anyway, because they started the process while he was alive. Fraud, American culture of entitlement, or just stupid?

One of the problems with the litigious society is that the bad apples also tarnish the meritorious cases. I admit, I've become cynical. In my office, we call tort cases the "punitive damage lottery" because so many people seem to treat the courts as such. I do recognize that the judicial system is an appropriate mechanism for change and restitution when not abused. But you don't need a "sue culture" for that.


You can't fall off the floor, but sometimes you need a chair to reach the cookie jar.

Delete

_Clare_
_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast
Member Since: 22nd Oct 2002
Total posts: 5967
Posted:Becci... I agree that the kids shouldn't have been unsupervised... but it is going to make a difference now to sue?

And (bearing in mind that I don't really know anything about this procedure)... will the money not eventually (via insurance claims) not be taken from the school - to the detriment of everyone in the school including your son?

I don't know though shrug


Getting to the other side smile

Delete

onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: munkypunks



But the question I was responding to was whether the stories of stupid lawsuits are simply urban myths. They're not. I can give you stories of extortion arising out of the ADA. Some lawyers go around suing any business without a ramp out front, but then offer to dismiss the case for a nominal sum, say 1-5K. No ramp was ever put in, so the disabled didn't get the change they needed, but the lawyers made money. Etc. These are clearly fraud.




Previous posts have indicated that at least some are urban myths, eg

Written by:

......................Or the guy that spilt his maccas coffee and sued maccas cos it was hot and he got burnt................



(now known to be untrue)

And they are the kinds of stories I was mainly referring to; the examples you've given seem to be in the deliberate fraud category.

Of course, if such frauds are facilitated by the 'sue culture' then that's obviously a bad aspect of it, it's just that, where I am, most of the 'stupid insurance' stories aren't in the fraud category.

-----------

Concerning the school; of course a claim will damage it financially, but the positive aspect is that it will be a good incentive for them to take such issues more seriously.

ie prior to a claim, a business can take the line of 'we can't cover against every eventuality- it's just not economically feasible to change the gates and have constant supervision of the children'.

However, after a claim, it can be apparent that not only is it economically feasible to think ahead and buy the necessary safeguards, but, in the long run, it's economically necessary, in that it's cheaper than being sued.

And, in saying that, I'm aware that some businesses are put under a lot of stress in complying with this stuff, and that's obviously bad; but, to some extent, it's balanced by the fact that a lot of big businesses, who can afford it, but previously didn't- now have to ensure disabled access, and decent health and safety for their workers etc


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

_Clare_
_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast
Member Since: 22nd Oct 2002
Total posts: 5967
Posted:But this is a school... not a business... and the education boards are already having their budgets slashed.

And is it fair to say they weren't 'taking the issue seriously'?

We don't know that. I don't know of any school where the safety of children isn't top priority. And yes, in this occasion a mistake was obviously made... but even if a supervisor had been present, you can't protect a classroom of children all the time.


Getting to the other side smile

Delete

spritie
spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX
Member Since: 9th Sep 2001
Total posts: 2014
Posted:If the school in question is a private school, then yes, it is a business. If the parent has to pay tuition, then it's a business.

Now, I know nothing of schools in Wales, but if it was in the states and the school had a head teacher, then i would think it's private since we don't have those at public schools here.


Delete

_Clare_
_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast
Member Since: 22nd Oct 2002
Total posts: 5967
Posted:No, every school has a head teacher here.

In most schools parents have to pay a nominal tuition fee to subsidise the government grant... but it's not much.

I very much doubt this school was private (though I could be wrong). Private schools in the UK cost an absolute fortune, and are very much in the minority.


Getting to the other side smile

Delete

onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: Firepoise


And is it fair to say they weren't 'taking the issue seriously'?




I don't know, I wasn't there. If the courts are involved there will be some kind of investigation though to assess if they were at fault.

Written by: Firepoise

And yes, in this occasion a mistake was obviously made... but even if a supervisor had been present, you can't protect a classroom of children all the time.



Of course not; but parents can expect a reasonable level of safety and, if the school was inadequate in that respect, then action is justified.

Parents are under a legal obligation to entrust their children to these places, it's important that those children, especially at that age, are adequately supervised, and that fences, gates etc, are reasonably safe.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

_Clare_
_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast
Member Since: 22nd Oct 2002
Total posts: 5967
Posted:True.

Then it comes down to the what is 'adequately' and what is 'reasonably' question... which is something neither of us can really answer.

Ah well.

I agree that in some cases suing can force a company to pull it's socks up... but I don't think suing a school is the right thing to do.

Sorry, Becci, of course any decision you make is grand... tis just my little opinion. biggrin

And if you did get some money for him... it'd be a great nest egg for later in life.

shrug


Getting to the other side smile

Delete

Kyrian
Dreamer
Location: York, England
Member Since: 15th Mar 2002
Total posts: 4308
Posted:btw, someone here(the US) did sue (McDonalds) because they didn't have a warning label on their coffee stating that it was hot (I don't usually by cold coffee but anyway...) so said urban myth about the maccas guy is still close to a reality......

ah america, land of idiots. There's a woman in california who was making money suing fast food chains (it seems).


Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

Delete

onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:I've just done an internet search and here's a couple of pages that mention McDonalds coffee and sueing: -

http://gadflyer.com/ammodump/
br>
http://friends.macjournals.com/mattd/hotcoffeemyth
br>
and here's a copy-and-paste extract from one:-

Written by:


In the discussion about whether people file worthless lawsuits, once again, the eight-year-old spectre of people who "sue because coffee was too hot" came up. This is the typical example of a runaway lawsuit culture: some woman who orders hot coffee, gets hot coffee, and sues because it's hot. As this link from Public Citizen shows, that's not what happened.

Adults enjoy very hot beverages, close to 95C (over 200F), but we know how to sip them very slowly with lots of cooling air, and even we occasionally burn our tongues. When we spill such beverages on our skin, we know to wave the affected area around to cool it rapidly, or run it under cold water ASAP. Children and senior citizens have more sensitive and thinner skin, and just one second of hot coffee on a child's arm can cause a full-penetration third-degree burn. Lots of organizations warn about the dangers of hot liquid around children.

In the famous McDonald's case, a 79-year-old woman was served 180F to 190F coffee (82C to 89C) in a thin cup in a drive-thru. She put the cup between her legs to stabilize it -- trying to be careful -- and removed the lid to add cream and sugar. The coffee sloshed out upon removing the lid, quickly giving her third-degree burns across her groin, inner thighs, and buttocks. She spent eight days in a hospital, had to go through skin grafts, and was disabled for more than two years -- all for a 49-cent cup of coffee in a flimsy cup that McDonald's served way, way too hot for a drive-in window.

And the company knew, too. The company had received "at least 700" scalding coffee reports in the previous ten years, some involving children ("Go get Daddy a refill" shouldn't be a dangerous statement). It settled some of these claims for up to $500,000. In this case, the woman's medical bills totalled over $11,000. McDonald's offered her $800 to go away. A court-appointed mediator recommended that McDonald's settle for $225,000, but the company refused, went to trial -- and was hit with $200,000 in compensatory damages (reduced to $160,000 as the jury attributed 20% of the fault to the woman for having the coffee in her lap), and $2.7 million in punitive damages, based on the fact that at that time, McDonald's earned $1.35 million per day in coffee revenues. The damage award was two days' worth of McDonald's corporate coffee income. Even that was later reduced to $480,000, but before the appeals could be decided, the woman and McDonald's settled privately with undisclosed and confidential terms.

$480,000 is the money McDonald's takes in for coffee sales in 8.5 hours, and that was eight years ago.





"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

Delete

Page: 12