Friday, February 4, 2011

Foreigner Friday: So Sue me!

My kids are both sick, we had a rough night and are having a rough day. I still feel as though I should write a little something- to lighten my own mood and hopefully yours…
Outside America, people amuse themselves reading about the most ridiculous US lawsuits they can find. It is not too terribly hard to find them- it appears as though people love to sue each other here. After I moved to the States, I started working for an insurance company. I was surprised to find that people really do sue each other over the silliest things and that if you are not careful you could lose all that you own over such nonsense. Because they don’t sue for just a few thousand Dollars, it’s usually hundreds of thousands, even millions. (A while ago, a man tried to sue Bank of America for their bad customer service. He wanted 1,784 billion, trillion Dollars. His case was dismissed…)
Let’s look at a few of my favorite examples. There is the famous lady who sued McDonald’s after spilling coffee in her own lap because it was hot. There is the burglar who got trapped in the garage of the house he was robbing, had to live off Pepsi and dog food until the owners returned from vacation, then sued their homeowner’s insurance for his pain and suffering. And, my absolute number one, the lady who sued the furniture store she was shopping in after she tripped and fell over a toddler, breaking her ankle. It was her own child. Not only did these people find lawyers who were willing to represent them, then a court who would hear it, they all actually WON and were awarded lots of money!
It seems as though people do not want to accept that unpleasant things just happen sometimes. They want somebody else to be responsible and pay for it. I don’t know where this mentality comes from, but it’s scary. It makes you have to carefully consider what you are willing to do for other people because there is a chance that you could get sued and lose everything you own.
As an example, I was considering donating breast milk to a baby in need. This can be done through a milk bank, but a lot of people are unable to afford the cost. So there are ways of privately sharing your milk with someone. I was lying in bed the other night and started thinking about the risk involved for myself and my family. Let’s just assume my freezer malfunctioned without my knowing it, spoiling the milk. The baby I donated it to got terribly sick from the spoiled milk. The people I donated to would probably sue me. I tried to find out online about the liability risk involved when milk sharing. It is a grey area; someone even called it a “legal nightmare”. So, I probably will not put my family in jeopardy, even though I would love to help a baby in need. Isn’t that sad?
Of course, everybody will assure you that they would never sue you. But you cannot believe them! Because over the course of the last few decades, people have sued everybody imaginable over every stupid thing under the sun. That’s why every piece of equipment you buy carries some sort of warning label. When I look at my child’s car seat, I almost have a hard time seeing the color of the fabric because the company is warning me of every possible scenario in which I could use their seat the wrong way- in two languages. That takes up a lot of room. Honestly, I’m so grateful they told me not to place my child in the car seat and leave him at the edge of a high surface because he may fall. I would not have been able to think of that on my own…
In conclusion, I think that this sue craziness should end. It’s ruining fun things for all of us! It makes the things I buy ugly with all the warning labels. Take some responsibility, people. If you smoke, it’s your own fault. Don’t sue the cigarette company for it, they didn’t make you do it. If you didn’t know it was bad for your health, then that’s your problem. Leave the courts alone with your rubbish. Unfortunately, as my favorite TV judge, Judge Judy, would say: “Beauty fades, dumb is forever.” I guess there will always be people with no common sense who need to sue. Here’s hoping they leave me and my family alone…

1 comment:

  1. I've thought about this before, people have even sued doctors who have jumped in and saved their lives (in public places off the clock) so it makes me nervous about helping someone in need. Pretty soon we'll probably have a "lawsuit insurance", if we don't already!