March 19, 2006

Sueing and Compensation …

With the drug trial thing that happened, its raised another particular bug-bear of mine which I decided needed expression. One of the things which annoys me more than anything else is the extent to which people sue other people all the freaking time!!! The way I see it is quite simple – if someone has done something to someone else which has severely damaged their quality of life/public image in a way which is likely to have serious repercussions (ie, a doctor being accused of being an alcoholic, or something) then they can sue for compensation, to help them carry on living in the manner which they lived beforehand, as well as (in the case of the doctor) making some actions towards reparing the damage. In the most present case of the drug trials, the families of the injured men are considering/threatening to sue the drug company for compensation. Its a fairly logical assumption that the men involved signed waivers and were aware of the dangers of a drug trial before they took part (who wouldn't have an inkling that it might not be entirely safe), and although the risks may not have been registered as very likely to them, they must have been aware of them. Incidentally, the drugs company can't really be blamed for that, as studies show that we base our own risk assesments on our knowledge of when, if, and how it has happened previously, and to the best of my knowledge, there has not been such a bad reaction to drugs in recent history. Apart from anything else, although companies are not allowed to 'pay' test subjects, the 'compensation' they recieve for thier time is rather generous, and this shouldn't be overlooked. Sadly, in this case, we'll probably see the drug companies giving all the men a healhy sum as a 'goodwill' gesture, one of my least favourite transactions. Evertime someone comes out of something ill, or injured or even a little upset, they are always looking for someone to sue.

On to the second part of my annoyance – compensation. Everybody always seems to be getting compensated, even when its not appropriate. Take, for example, the victims of the tube bombings in London over the summer. Victims, and families of those who died are recieving obscene amounts of money. Its true that in some cases people have lost their ability to work, or lost the main breadwinner of the family, but the welfare state is there to provide support in these kinds of emergencies. The compensation seems to be coming from entirely the wrong direction – I can't see the extremists who blew the tubes up shelling out millions of pounds to support the people they exploded, so it seems like the public coffers are compensating for something they can take no blame for. It was the same after 9/11, and I'm sure it occurs in less publicised cases all the time, and I don't understand why …

I hate to jump on the bandwagon despairing over the state of the world today, but I would argue that the 'compensation culture' we live in is getting beyond a joke. You know, the other day it rained when I was wearing a white shirt, and everyone could see my bra – I was traumatised – so who do I sue ….. :)

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