A Conversation With Grandma

 In personal injury

“I think your clients should pay better attention to what they are doing and they wouldn’t get hurt,” Grandma said in a fit of defense attribution.  This is not an uncommon attitude that plaintiff’s personal injury attorneys find everywhere, even in usually supportive grandmas.

“Yes, yes,” I responded to her to engage her to listen to what I had to say next, “But really, NO.” I pointed to an unmarked planter curb and the many wheel stops in the parking lot of a big box store.  “Granted, people should watch where they step so they do not trip over those many tripping hazards, but they are often navigating around a vehicle that blocks their vision of the hazard; or they are looking for their car; or they are watching out for passing cars and/or small children.  People don’t go out there on purpose so they can get hurt, it is not fun to be hurt.”

“Yes, but they still have to watch where they are walking and if they don’t, why should we pay them money for their incompetence?” Grandma thought she was playing her ace, she was injecting money into the argument.

“You would admit that some people do get hurt, seriously hurt, so that they have large hospital bills and/or might not be able to work, right?”  Grandma thought I was changing the subject.  “They can sustain such serious injuries from trip and falls over such minor things as planter curbs and wheel stops that it could permanently and negatively affect the rest of their lives, right?”

“Yes,” Grandma said, “But it is their own fault.” She was a tough old bird, it was not going be easy to change her mind.

“You would expect these stores to have premises liability insurance, wouldn’t you?  In fact, they are often required by their landlords, or if they own the property, their banks require the stores to have insurance.  Insurance is by definition the pooling of risk.  Many people pay a little in case there is a claim.  One person may not see a wheel stop and stub their toe, while another may trip and have multiple fractures and be permanently disabled.  Shouldn’t insurance, the pooling of risk, help that person who needs it? That is why we have it, right?”

“I see, but isn’t that socialism?” Grandma was desperate.

“No, it is the most capitalist of capitalism.  Insurance companies hold only a portion of their funds in case of claims, by law.  The remainder is invested.  And, by the way, insurance companies are making outrageous profits now with people having attitudes like you did.”

“You’re right, injured people should have the ability to receive money to pay their medical expenses and lost wages, even when they trip over something in a parking lot.”