Litigious Society / Compensation Culture

  silverous 17:15 14 Sep 2006

I saw this on theregister and it made me wonder:

click here

I hope the UK never gets quite like that.

Litigiousness doesn't seem to be quite such a problem here. We already have a compensation culture though and Health and Safety gone mad.

Everyone has to have someone to blame for anything that happens to them - this may be human nature but all the rules and regulations in place now officially identify who's "to blame".

The result as a whole is to drive costs up for all. Insurance Premiums rise to cover the cost of claims. "Ambulance chasers" (listen to your local radio "Have you had an accident, could you be entitled to compensation").

Another by-product is that people cease to do things that are condidered "risky". Everything has a risk, crossing the road has a risk. But now we have the situation where community activities don't take place for a fear of an accident and being sued.

I think it has all gone to far and in the States it is further still it would seem.

  oresome 18:21 14 Sep 2006

Whatever the Americans do, we eventually follow suit.

The situation has got worse in the UK since solicitors were allowed to advertise their services. Market forces at work.

  wolfie3000 19:01 14 Sep 2006

$114m For not getting a free coffee!!!!

Im utterly speechless.

  wolfie3000 19:02 14 Sep 2006

Gandalf is not known for mincing his words i wonder what he thinks?

  Mr Mistoffelees 19:10 14 Sep 2006

Another ridiculous American lawyer who can't see beyond the Dollar signs.

  Forum Editor 19:20 14 Sep 2006

Whatever your personal prejudices might be I can assure you that american judges are not fools - they knw very well when someone is simply trying it on, and unless I'm very much mistaken they'll chuck this out.

We have certainly become a compensation-minded society here, in the UK, and it's changing us as people. Almost the first thing peple think about now, when something goes wrong in their lives, is "how can I get some money from this situation", rather than "Life is going to dish out the odd knock, but that's the way it has always been, and I'll survive". We see it here, in the forum, when some people post about a problem with a supplier; you can almost hear them saying "I wonder if I can get something out of this; something more than I'm really entitled to expect".

  jack 19:39 14 Sep 2006

I do agree the compensation culture is getting out of hand somewhat and eventually it will have the lid put on it.
Take claims against the NHS for example - yes there are mistakes and malpractices But the payouts[of which the lawyers take a substantial share] come from the same funds as medical care- We all PAY.
So whilst I am not against compensation as such it should be to scale laid down- and keep the legal eagles out of it.

As for the Free Coffee- there have been a few 'Free' offers here in recent times that have had unexpected consequences- but who recalls the HOOVER fiasco of a few years ago?

  oresome 21:55 14 Sep 2006

Not all councils sit back and settle claims.

I listened to a radio programme sometime back where a number of councils were closely inspecting each and every claim and closely questioning the claimant.

Amazing how many dropped their claim when it was subject to scrutiny.

Incidentally, as I understand it you would have to prove the council to be negligent. i.e. That they were aware of the defect and had adequate time to rectify the problem.

  silverous 09:32 15 Sep 2006

"Whatever your personal prejudices might be I can assure you that american judges are not fools"

What personal prejudices?

I'm sure american judges are not fools but they are part of a system, in the same way that magistrates here have to give a blind man a driving ban of just 3 years and order him to sit a test.... I'm sure magistrates here aren't fools but they have to work within a framework.

I wasn't suggesting this might succeed (of course it won't - she can't possibly lay claim to the money alledgedly due to all the people who have been disadvantaged for one) merely that a culture in which people have the time and inclination to bring such a ridiculous case to court.

I have to admit to being on the claiming end - my car was vandalised in a carpark where the lighting had failed and hadn't been attended to for a number of days. My allegation was that had the carpark lighting been active it would have been much less likely for them to have the time to do what they did near a busy road. The car park was pitch black. I have mixed thoughts on whether this was justified now.

Regarding the council claim, I work for an insurance company and unfortunately it is often cheaper to pay a claim and close it than to fight it. We do receive some spurious claims, and even end up paying some because they have legitimate aspects to them. Often there is 'contributory negligence' where an individual was doing something to contribute to their own claim.

The council cannot possibly inspect every pavement and every piece of street furniture every day. They do have a duty to maintain them but not to fix everything as soon as it occurs. I think the key thing is - had they inspected and maintained the path at a reasonable interval? If they had then I think it should be put down to an accident which no-one was really responsible for.

  Colin 11:36 15 Sep 2006

A lot of these stories, but not the Starbucks one, are urban myths that get exploded out of reality. The initial surprise soon wanes. As the article in The Register asks, what was the outcome of the poodle/microwave case? Does anyone know? Who cares? To get back to the original thread, I think most people are against flimsy litigation/compensation claims until it involves them!

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