Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Accidents and Tragedies: The New Form of Lottery ???

Today I read the story from CBC online about the call from not ONE, but TWO law firms in Ontario for passengers who were on the VIA train on Sunday that derailed in Burlington and tragically killed three VIA employees.

(CBC.ca story: VIA derailment passengers sought for class action)

While part of me remembers the old example of a bus accident in the US that had dozens upon dozens of people stepping up in a class action lawsuit following an accident. I don't remember the specific story, but it was essentially a bus with a dozen or so people was involved in an accident, but when the EMT folks showed up there were several dozen people on board the bus, and ALL of them had 'injuries' requiring attention. The fly in their lottery dreams was the onboard camera that was able to identify the actual people ON the bus when it had the accident, and those who rushed on following the accident ... I've never read how the class action suit turned out on THAT one, but I would hope the Bus Company launched one for FRAUD.

But in this case, a tragic accident has happened, and even before the tracks are cleared and restored the lawyers are circling ... they truly illustrate the bad joke about lawyers chasing ambulances !!!!

People are entitled to some level of compensation for their suffering and losses they may experience from their injuries and the trauma the event represents. BUT, too often though, these moments become like a lottery with people wanting to sue for HUGE cash settlements that are out of proportion with the actual accident itself.

We have moved into a very litigious era in our human history. Years ago when someone slipped and fell they would get up and walk it off. But today when someone slips and falls the threat of a law suit is real and immediate ... the potential for devestating court findings is no longer a remote possibility, but increasingly it is becoming a certainty.

Am I the only one who thinks that this is just WRONG???

If there is negligence, I'm all for ensuring it never happens again. But too often these class action suits help ONLY to put money in the pockets of the law firms, and don't do much other than leave some people wealthy and others losing services as settlements bankrupt businesses and organizations AND drive insurance costs through the roof.

These class action suits are NOT a lottery.

When it comes to something like a plane, a train or a bus, we ALL end up paying when the business passes its losses on to the consumers.

When it comes to a business or an organization, we ALL end up paying through the loss of services, and/or the increase in the cost of insurance which drives up what we pay ourselves, and drives up what we pay for goods and services as business models require that cost to be passed on to users.

The bottom line is simply this: THIS AIN'T A LOTTERY, why do we continue to allow class action law suits that are clearly about cash rewards, not addressing dangerous situations and preventable tragedies?????

Makes me think about the old joke: What do you call 100 lawyers drowning at sea??


I have respect for many in the legal profession - but modern ambulance chasers deserve ONLY contempt !!!

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