There is a plague in modern society that seems to go largely unnoticed.
For once, I’m not on about the Nanny State or the Prohibitionists.
I refer to the plague of litigation.
There was a time when people would sue their employer if they lost an arm or a leg in an avoidable industrial accident. That’s fair enough – if an employer is cutting corners and being negligent then a certain amount of compensation is due. In the last couple of decades though this “compensation culture” has crept into our every day lives and like it or not, we all suffer because of it. People are now suing for just about anything and everything. You only have to trip and fall these days and you can sue someone, whether it’s the council, your shoe manufacturer or the pub that sold you too much drink.
Virtually every aspect of our lives now has to be insured just in case we are deemed responsible for some imaginary hurt. A branch falls off one of my trees and scratches someone’s arm – I can be sued. Someone trespasses on my property and falls in the lake, or scratches themselves on a bramble – I can be sued. People are suing for the most incredibly banal and trivial reasons and there seems to be no end to it.
There is a case in the courts at the moment.
A ten year old was on a flight to America. She was asked what she wanted to drink and she asked for tea. Fair enough. The girl then spills the tea on herself and sues the airline because the tea was hot!
Naturally the kid is “going to be scarred for life”. Naturally she suffered “mental anguish and embarrassment”. And for this, she is demanding $75,000. What the fuck?
She claims she was not warned that the tea was hot. It was tea, for fuck’s sake and any twat will tell you that the water has to be boiling to make tea. Not tepid, not simmering, but boiling. If the water is anything less than boiling it isn’t a proper cup of tea, but Idiot Child seems to think it necessary to be told this every time she is served with a cup.
Naturally our kid has to be highly successful at something as she has to have a future career that is now ruined forever. In this case she is “a successful amateur competitive surfer”. God give me strength! That makes me a successful amateur competitive tin can kicker I suppose?
The flight attendant placed the cup of tea in a cup holder on the girls tray. Next thing, suddenly and mysteriously this cup jumps out of the tray and deposits its contents on the girls lap. Was the cup spring loaded? Did it have wondrous anti-gravity properties that no one noticed? Or could it just be that the kid was clumsy and knocked it over herself? Surely that couldn’t be the case, otherwise she’d have to sue herself, and bang goes her dream of $75,000.
You may think this is a trivial case that should be thrown out of court, and you’d be right, but it has consequences.
Firstly it has to go to court in the first place and that incurs costs, ultimately paid for by taxes and higher air fares.
The most important consequence though is that all industry is now running scared in case some trivial case is brought against them, and as a result we have soaring insurance costs. Also, just to be on the safe side we have all these irritating little signs warning us that knives are sharp and that we shouldn’t play with chainsaws. Buy anything these days and there is a list of potential and often ridiculous dangers attached to it.
I suppose next we’ll have signs on the sides of kettles?
“Danger! Boiling water may be hot.”