Compensation Culture

I sometimes feel that the world has gone mad. Yesterday I mentioned selfishness, greed and personal gain and one manifestation of that is the current compensation culture in society. It seems that people no longer accept responsibility for their own mistakes but think that the way forward is to claim compensation from someone else instead.

Take the advert we are subjected to on TV. A woman carrying a bag down the street fails to notice an uneven paving stone, catches the toe of her shoe and falls over. In my youth, my mother would have told me to get up, stop crying and get on down to A&E to have my injury looked at, telling me ‘You should watch where you’re going!’  Nowadays, Miss Highheels will put a claim in to the local Council for damages, laying on thick the loss of time and money, the mental torture her injury has put her through and the cost of the Jimmy Choos that were ruined. And WE, dear Council Tax Payers, are footing the bill. (No pun intended).

I am not saying that ALL compensation claims are wrong. I myself have applied, on my father’s behalf, for a reimbursement of nursing home fees which I believe were taken in error ten years ago when the criteria for care were not applied as rigorously as they should have been. In the case of a car accident where the other driver was drunk or on drugs or drove in a dangerous manner, I do believe that a person’s injuries should be compensated. In a birth accident where someone was culpable and a child is left with a disability for life, the parents should receive compensation for their lifetime commitment to caring for that child. Cases like that are deserving.

Once, in school, on an icy winter’s day, the children were sliding across the yard on the ice. Walkways had been salted by the Caretaker so that children could safely make their way around the outside areas. One of the sliding girls fell and broke her wrist. Her mother made a huge fuss, saying that she would be complaining to the Local Authority and claiming compensation. Would my mother have done this? You bet she wouldn’t!

We have become too accustomed to blaming others for our own carelessness. In France, you’d be lucky to find a decent pavement in most towns. I wonder if they get lots of compensation claims for trips and falls? Some of the cases we hear are absurd and just examples of how personal greed has led to a total loss of people taking responsibility for the own actions and mistakes.

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2 responses to “Compensation Culture

  1. Funny you should say that…. on Saturday afternoon I tripped and fell, ripping my pants, cutting my knee quite badly and losing whatever dignity I still had. I am now gingerly limping round the house and having to rethink some activities this week. At the time I was moving off a pavement onto some grass and trying to control a somewhat boisterous dog…. I am sure there was some ‘unevenness’ on the transition between the pavement and the grass – I am also sure I did not look closely enough at where I was walking. Never entered my head it was anything but an accident.

    I also remember a case that went to court in the past where the complainant got a couple of thousand damages for a fall at my work place, but the council costs were above £20K for the ‘day in court’ – well 2 hours really.

  2. Ouch. Sorry to hear that. I’d be somewhat embarrassed to fall too but would be much more embarrassed to blame someone else and ask for money.
    Hope your knee mends soon. x

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