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December 28, 2006

Should this man get compensation?

Here’s one for your ethics class. Are there circumstances under which someone should receive compensation for having killed someone?

I started reading this article thinking the claimant was a cynical, money-grabbing monster. That’s probably a result of the tabloid-style writing. By the end of the piece I felt pretty sorry for the guy. I can only suggest you read the whole thing yourself.

While riding his motorbike (at 50mph in a 70mph zone) he struck down a 12-year-old boy who was playing ‘chicken’ on a dual-carriageway. The child died three days later in hospital.

The claimant says he suffered six broken ribs, a punctured lung, a bruised heart, a shoulder injury and psychological trauma. I don’t think anyone would argue the accident was his fault. But should he be compensated?

His lawyers say the child was “negligent” and committed a “violent act” against the biker. They’re strong words, but remember to separate the legalese from the common uses of the words.

If successful, the money would come from the government-funded Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which gives out £200m of public money each year.

So what do you reckon? I think he’s got a case for the money. Forget about blame – the guy’s been injured as a result of an accident that wasn’t his fault. But does the death of the child make a difference…?

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