25 January 2007

Follow Up to Lawyer Insurance

Librarians have a tendency to research those topics that peak our interest. I am no exception.

I came across an article entitled "Most Fearful? Its the Swiss" by Aline Sullivan. (International Herald Tribune, 18 March, 1995.) Although the article is old, it still has some relevant points.

Article Excerpt:
The pattern of insurance buying does appear to vary hugely between countries, however. For example, the litigiousness of Americans means that third party liability insurance of various kinds is enormously popular. Directors will often refuse to accept jobs unless they are covered by directors and officers liability insurance, which covers them against lawsuits from shareholders and others. The risks are very real.

In Japan and Switzerland, lawsuits of this kind are virtually unknown. The high insurance expenditure of the Swiss and the Japanese does genuinely appear to derive from a deep fear of risk.

Note: For some strange reason the link does not work every time. If it does not work for you, try refreshing and then clicking on the link again.


Expat Traveler said...

I think as I began to ask more about suing in Switzerland, most lost prevent you from filing such odd cases. I like the "common sense" clause the most.. as it was put to me... If it should be common sense, then you can't be sued for such acts... Like getting burnt by hot coffee, with Caution Hot written on the cup.

So Sue Me said...

Just a quick note on the McDonald's coffee incident:

As much as I hate the litigiousness of American society, there is a difference between a frivolous lawsuit and fair compensation for a wrongdoing. I did some research a few years ago on the McD case, and learned they not only served coffee far above the temperature considered safe (and too hot to taste good), but they knew it was too hot.

The woman in question didn't just get a little burned, she was hospitalized for a week and required skin grafts to repair the damage.

Yes, coffee is supposed to be hot, and common sense dictates customers be aware of the temperature. But when McDs has a corporate policy requiring coffee to be served well above the temperature considered safe, they should not necessarily be absolved of any liability. That's like saying someone who drives 60MPH (I think that translates to 438.3 KPH) through a residential neighborhood should not be blamed if he hits someone, because people should know cars drive there.

Not only did McD's know the coffee was too hot, they had settled many others, similar cases out of court prior to this incident, without changing their policy. It was only after this case when to court that the policy was changed.

Also, the $2.7-million judgement was reduced to $480,000.

For more, check out http://lawandhelp.com/q298-2.htm or just do a Google search. The first time I researched it, I found the actual court transcript, and it was a real eye-opener.