Posted by: whereisthecommonsense | October 30, 2009

Award$ We Pay: No ‘Change’

Let me make something clear. It is tragic when a family loses a loved one in any event. The loss is tough to measure for most families. When a loved one is lost due to malpractice, or an accident, or some other cause that could have been prevented due to someone’s negligence, it makes it even harder for those left behind. It is only right and fair to give the survivors compensation for their loss. Loss of love, income, and suffering.  But, here is where things have gotten far out of hand.

Jury’s since the mid to late 1970’s have been awarding tremendous sums of money to victims families. Way too much money! Case in point, there is news today of a woman who died of water intoxication during some stupid radio stunt. She was a contestant to try and win a Wii game system. Now, this was a ridiculous stunt for both sides. The radio show should have researched what can happen to a person after they consume mass quantities of water. The woman who entered the contest had a responsibility to her own self (and family) to know this same information. But neither side bothered to look into the consequences! The radio show has the greater burden in my view on this, and should be punitively remanded for their lack of care taken in going ahead with the contest. There were ten employees fired from their jobs, as a result of the woman’s death. Scape goats some of them were I am sure.

The jury in the trial decided the radio station should pay, and correctly so. But they awarded $16.5 million dollars! That is ridiculous and is illustrative of why there should be Tort Reform in this country. Awards of this type do not punish just the offender, but all of us!! Where do you think that money comes from? An insurance money tree in back of the insurance building? You and I will pay in the form of higher rates for one, of course! Come on! I didn’t kill this woman. You didn’t kill this woman. But you and I will pay for it just the same.

Now what is it that should have been done you ask? I don’t know what this woman’s income per year was at the time of her death, but it is more than probable that she would not have made $16.5 million in her whole lifetime. I mean, she was trying to win a video game system that costs only about $200! Why didn’t she just go buy one? Awards should be based on what is reasonable, and prudent for what the individual would be expected to have earned in their lifetime. Appearances are a crude way to go about things, and I don’t like to do things based on appearances. But for the sake of the argument here, she did not look as though she would have earned more than $500,000 in her lifetime. Again, it was only about a $200 prize if she won. I could be wrong of course, not having her actual income figures. But think about it. If her family was awarded $500k in a lump sum, tax free, that is a tremendous amount of money! Fairly compensated, and the family can now move on with their lives in extreme comfort save the loss of their loved one. Make sure that money is put into a financial instrument (e.g., an annuity) to guarantee the family doesn’t squander the money (especially where children are involved), and they are set up for life.  Using the above example, the survivors in this woman’s family could at minimum, receive over $16,500 per year for the next 30 years, not taking into account the interest earned on this money!  Some annuities could pay the children a monthly income  for their whole lives . By doing that, it will also reduce the number of people who sue so that they can capitalize on someone’s death. No trip to Rio, and the children that may be left behind are sure to be clothed and fed, and not used as pawns.

You say that doesn’t punish the offender enough? Maybe. I am sure that I am tired of paying for their mistakes, though. I am sure that the offenders, even as huge sums are awarded, are not feeling punished either. They will just sit back and pass on the cost to you and me. But, as part of Tort Reform, the threat of harsh prison sentences would remedy that part. Somebody should have gone to jail over this in my view. And, no one will as things stand at this moment.

Just one problem to seeking ‘change’ in this matter and that is the legion of lawyers lobbying to save their $500 per hour incomes. The Dem’s have made it clear that Tort Reform will not be discussed in their misguided health care bills. Legislation that is completely unnecessary, over priced, incompetent government-run program, that Tort Reform would render it as a moot subject!  The outrageous awards to victims are the reason health care is so expensive! The Dem’s receive tremendous sums of money each year to elect them to office. Why upset the cash cow? Why ‘change’ anything? For those who were stupid enough to vote for Obama, you really didn’t believe ‘change’ meant that it would help you the average tax burdened payer, did you? Really? Except to be more intrusive in your life, ‘change’ is a fantasy Obama voters bought into hook, line, and sinker.



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