Friday, 14 April 2017

Ambulance Chasing Societies

It wasn't much of a surprise .... the lawyers for the school clock/bomb boy, Ahmed Mohamed aged 14, want a $15 million settlement for the "severe psychological trauma" caused to him, by a teacher mistaking his clock for a 'suicide bomb'. The family lawyers are asking for $10m (£7m) from the city of Irving, and a further $5m (£3.3m) from the Irving Independent School District, saying that Ahmed Mohamed was "publicly mistreated" and remains mentally and physically scarred.

Liberals Shocked As School Clock- Bomb Boy - Sues For Big Bucks

So a minor bruise and a few moments of distress are worth $15 million dollars?

The case is still ongoing a year or so later, with the city's lawyers demanding that the whole case be dropped as it was their duty to consider student and staff safety, above the feelings of one particular student. The family had already lost a series of attempts to sue a number of news and blogging outlets under US freedom of speech provisions. He of course has left the US to take up a scholarship from the Qatar Foundation in Qatar.

Mini Update - May 2017:

The latest court claim by the family (a racial or religious discrimination case), has been thrown out of court. What this must be costing in legal fees and who is funding it all would be an interesting fact.

What a load of ambulance chasers the lawyers in the US (and increasingly in the UK as well) are ....

You would hope that this, if nothing else would force the US to curb lawsuits amounts, but although I won't follow the story explicitly, I can guarantee that somehow the family may well get $500,000 plus dollars from all of this (or the school and district will go bust defending themselves). And therein lies the rub ... its cheaper to pay up, regardless of the merit of the claims, than fight it.

There are reputedly well over one million lawyers working in the USA (and 145,00 in the UK in 2014); that's more than one for every ten US businesses. All those lawyers have to do something for a living (they can't all go into politics), and so in order to make a living lawyers, are encouraging everyone to sue one another all the time.

Not long ago an American passenger sued an airline for serving free peanuts (even though she didn't need to eat them). Of course most of the litigants don't realise (and probably don't care if they get free money), that the only people who ever get really rich from non stop litigation are the lawyers. Popular rumour has it that at least one US lawyer, was reputed to have made more than a 100 million dollars out of the settlement made with the big tobacco companies.

Its very depressing really, that there are seemingly just no normal people left ... everyone apparently suffers deep and "severe psychological trauma", whether they get told off at school, or spill coffee on themselves, and are never at fault themselves. Usually the trauma is to a value of retiring for life after the courts award them vast sums, for seemingly trivial offence or injury.

Ambulance Chasing An Epidemic ....

The legal system is slowly eating its own limbs, by encouraging claims for everything .... I recall that in the UK, when the legal industry agitated for the right to advertise their services on TV etc, we were promised that the 'ambulance chasing culture' of the USA would not be imported over here ..... well that was as we all suspected, a complete lie.

Our TV's are full of adverts for 'Injury money to you' type lawyers, and our emails and mobiles are spammed with suggestions that we can claim vast sums from the banks for mis-selling to us, or for some other injustice done to us, often for matters that we didn't even notice at the time.

Some of the worst offenders of this new systemic court cultures are the already pampered public sector employees such as the Army, Police, council (city) workers, or other state employees, who now claim damages at the drop of the hat, and get totally ridiculous amounts in return.

PC Kelly Jones started actions to sue a garage for injuring herself while attending a duty call .... she later apparently dropped the claim after public ridicule and anger. It later transpired that she was also suing her own police force for an injured knee sustained while in a car pursuit of a suspect. What the feck did she expect when she joined the police? .... obviously not to be in any harms way.

Other officers are not so shy, in 2014 a police officer who became a “laughing stock” after video footage emerged of him flying into a rage and attacking a pensioner’s car with his truncheon, was awarded £440,000 (£429,434 for loss of pension and around £10,000 for loss of earnings from Gwent Police) in 'compensation' for leaving the force.

A prison officer An ex-prison officer, who can no longer walk after slipping on ice while on dog patrol, has been awarded a £500,000 payout. The officer suffered a nasty blow to his right ankle when he fell at HMP Woodhill, near Milton Keynes in December 2009.... the injury had stopped him working as a prison officer.

One police officer reportedly got £90k 'compensation' for the 'trauma' of seeing a woman die after he crashed into her car during a 999 call. The husband of the victim of this policeman, allegedly received just £16,000 in compensation (I mean, for gods sake who really suffered most in this incident?). Another policewoman claimed £200,000 compensation - though she was already receiving a police pension, after she slipped on a banana skin at work (yes really, a banana skin).

It should be noted that at the time of these police compensation claims, the maximum pay-out for a victim of crime from the criminal injuries compensation authority was £250,000 (for paralysis or loss of all four limbs). Someone who was the victim of a gang rape would receive £10,000 and someone who received moderate brain damage as a result of an assault might have received £15,000.

The cost to society of this claims culture is vast, insurance policy premiums for businesses and councils go up to ensure these payouts can be met, and underwriters cover themselves - the result is that many small businessmen have probably gone bankrupt, rather than try and meet the cost of the premiums to cover insurance against claims.

Finally - in the public sector - One man received a payout of £238,000 in compensation from his local council after claiming (falsely as it later transpired), that he had broken his ankle in a pot hole. This type of ankle injury is usually not life threatening, and normally fully heals. Council officials in Liverpool had to set aside £5.3 million of rate payers money in 2000 AD, just to cover the costs/payouts for those who sued after claiming that they had tripped on uneven pavements (sidewalks). In that year alone, they received 2,200 claims from people who alleged to have injured themselves in this manner (aka `highway related incidents') ... the numbers rose dramatically as word got about e.g. In 2001 it was 4,000, in 2002 it was 6,000 and continued to rise.

Other cities have similar bills with council officials stating that when fought, 80% of the claims prove to be fraudulent/false with at least one man shown to have actually been in prison on the date when he claimed he had fallen. Another person reputedly files a injury claim every year in time for Christmas. One entire family was found to have claimed they had been hurt, all tripping over the same stretch of pavement.

One council spokesman summed it up nicely when he said: `A lot of these claims are down to the very aggressive sales tactics used by ambulance chasing insurance companies offering people no win no fee lawsuits. Many people think they can put in claims because they have nothing to lose.'

Well they should, and so should the lawyers .... losing claimants should always shoulder the legal costs of the winners, and both lawyers and applicants face a compulsory fine or even imprisonment for confirmed fraudulent claims (such as being in prison when the alleged incident occurred).

We all pay for this greed culture, and we should ask parliament to review the advertising by legal firms in the UK.

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