We live in an accident-free world, but not in a good way


Someone – someone else – must be held accountable for everything

AccidentNoOnce upon a time there used to be occurrences that were deemed to be accidental; not surprisingly we called them accidents. They were just part of life and were nobody’s fault. Accidents. But they seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur, as now everything is somebody’s fault, and legal action must be taken.

But they seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur, now everything is somebody’s fault, and legal action must be taken

Not too far from my place is a lovely park with a grand slope that in the winter is a great place for novice skiers and toboggan enthusiasts to spend time. The hill has two distinct sides, and at one point some time ago someone decided skiers and tobogganers needed to be separated. One side had a more gradual incline and was deemed a toboggans only zone while the other, more acute side was suitable for skiing. Of course that determination existed only in the heads of the adults who ran the recreation department. Tobogganers were not going to settle for the flatter grade, speed demons that we were we took to the steeper side of the hill.

TobogganIf a kid came zipping down the hill on his or her toboggan and smacked into a tree or hit an ice patch and flipped over causing injury to both body and pride, it was  an accident. Upon returning home the child’s parents would deal with any scrapes  or bruises, or seek medical attention if needed. But the whole incident was just one of those things.

You’ll hear from our lawyer

Today a parent in a similar situation would certainly tend to the injured child, but would soon turn their attention to the issue of fault – and there has to be some. Why was the child allowed to toboggan so close to trees? Why wasn’t the hill closed if it was icy? Why didn’t the city put appropriate padding around the trees? If you have a designated side for toboggans why wasn’t someone there to enforce that? You’ll hear from our lawyer. Perhaps Shakespeare had it right when he wrote in Henry the Sixth “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”.

Someone must pay for my child’s playground mishap

No more simple accidents; no more “shit happens” approach. Someone must pay for my child’s playground mishap. A kid gets a ball in the face playing soccer and loses two teeth – the parents try to sue the organizers for not making mouth guards mandatory, or inflating the ball too much. Couldn’t they see the possibility and have their child properly outfitted? Do people have to be told?

Goofy_fall

As long as there are humans, there will be accidents

I use the example of a tobogganing accident, but any mishap could be substituted: a collision in a swimming pool, a minor road accident or a trip on a flight of stairs. I recall hearing about a woman who went to her friend’s place for dinner one evening. While coming downstairs from the bathroom she slipped or tripped and fell down the stairs and broke her leg.  She required surgery to set the break and a bit of time in hospital. When she submitted the claim to her insurance company and described the incident, a representative paid a visit to the scene of the “accident”. Not long afterward the woman was informed that her insurance company would not pay a penny because the stairs in her friend’s house were not up to recent code.  A lawsuit ensued as one insurance company sued the other; the two women remained the best of friends throughout. The lawyers got rich!

As long as there are humans, there will be accidents.

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