Are we suing for a Purpose?
«It all depends.» The ever-pervasive element, the lawsuit, is no longer just an American «get rich scheme;» but, it is now heavily at work in the United Kingdom. Everyone is trying to make an easy buck off of the judicial system and for the most part they are doing a good job. People suing all the time and winning large sums of money in court with ridiculous cases have chipped away at the underlying goodness of lawsuits. Therefore, the potential for lawsuits to better the economy has always been there; but, the manipulation of it and overt claims of greed have corrupted its once noble intentions to decoy people into scrutinizing the legitimacy of every claim.
Firms are continually churning out goods into the consumer market. However, with the advent of the lawsuit, great pressure has been imposed on companies to be more careful in terms of efficiency and especially safety with regards to goods and services. If a customer feels he has been cheated of his money and/or is simply dissatisfied with what he has paid for, than he has the right to file a lawsuit against the party responsible. Undoubtedly, such a case cost a hefty sum of money and 90 percent of the time the defendant loses; thus, giving businesses incentive to improve the quality or design of what they offer the consumer market so as to avoid troublesome and expensive court cases.
Lawsuits keep businesses in line so as to prevent them from acting irresponsibly. From the leaking of a Mazda gas tank to an alcoholic doctor, the range of possible prosecution circumstance never ends. How does a firm deal with such deficiencies? The answer is to fix them. This is not simple and not cheap. It is very expensive to protect people from such a multitude of hidden dangers and product defects, which sometimes makes things not worth doing. For example, a medicinal firm attempts to put a new super aspirin on the market, but it must be tested for possible side effects; a bureaucracy mulls over the expense of carrying out such a process and decides whether it is really worth going through such an inconvenience given the expected return. The time and cost devoted to such an endeavor is off-putting and discourages business (especially fairly new companies, which have to be sparing with money.)
In order to dodge petty lawsuits, it is essential that one have an insurance plan, which means yet again firms are looking at another lump sum of money that could have been allocated somewhere else. But, if it is in the best interests of the public and employees in the long — and short-run of it all, than no amount of money is too great, right? Wrong, the key is to have a balance. Expensive insurance policies (the businessmen’s stratagem of trying to anticipate everything) must be weighed against the manipulation and basic greed of many lawsuit claims. First of all, one has to recognize the fact that not everyone can afford to take out an insurance policy and if it is financially feasible, it may drive up the cost of doing business in certain areas. With too much insurance, costs are driven up and businesses are gradually but forcefully pushed out. This works more to the disadvantage of small companies than big ones.
Coming back to self-interested, greed-driven lawsuits, they are bad for the economy. In general, over-estimates in terms of compensation usually result in increased insurance premiums; consequently, some money is taken out of the employees wage or in some instances people are fired, which accordingly diminishes productivity, hence bringing down profits. Under extreme circumstances, it could cause bankruptcy; little firms are more often than not the first to go.
If people were not so blinded by the almighty dollar and stopped to realize what detrimental effects they could be causing to the company, the workers of the company and their families, they might reconsider suing. If a small family owned company is sued for a prospective customer slipping on their wet floor and that person was not injured, than hopefully he would stop and think of the repercussions that would ensue. In some cases the effects could be devastating; because, it could cause bankruptcy and force them to lose their business, which in some extreme cases may result in them losing their home. For that reason, the size of compensational judgments should suit the relative circumstances and be used for societal gain rather than individual interests unless the conditions deem otherwise.
There are numerous cases where people are constantly winning ridiculous suits that should in no way be compensated. For example, a person who spilt hot coffee on himself from McDonalds sued and won 2 million dollars. Or another case where a thief broke into a store and dropped a television that he was stealing on his foot, which caused him to be injured and get caught. He sued also and his case is still pending. There are so many petty excuses as to why people think that they deserve money; it is unbelievable.
Nevertheless, there are people out there who really do deserve some kind of compensation for negligence, harassment, or anything they consider unsatisfactory. For example, a Gastonia man who already has enough appeal to pity has yet another problem to deal with. He is a paraplegic who awoke to find a rat chomping on his leg to the bone. His condition prevented him from feeling the rat devour his leg. The state Court of Appeals ruled that he could sue his landlord. Is this just? I believe so. Should he be compensated? I also think so. The living conditions in his apartment were not all that healthy to begin with and the Gastonia man repeatedly complained to the landlord about rats scratching at his walls. Permissible claims like the one previously mentioned bolster claims for more efficient and safer products, which in turn work for the betterment of the economy and society as a whole.
People have the right to ask for as much money as they want, but real blame should be pinned on those condoning the unduly several thousand and sometimes million dollar payments. Who grants these high compensations? Juries. They think money grows on trees and often award the prosecutor three, four, five times the amount merited. The solution to the previously stated dilemma is to make the juries more aware of the indirect outcomes of overcompensation on the economy.
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