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  1. #1
    SNARKY MEMBER CardiacKid's Avatar
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    Is it possible lawyers save lives?

    I read this article about the unfortunate death of extreme skier Doug Coombs. http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/05/16/news/skiers.php
    The thing that caught my eye was the statement about how the fear of lawsuits has made US ski resorts adopt stringent safety rules that were partially responsible for Coombs moving to France, where they let people do whatever they want.
    According to the article, 53 skiers died in France this year. According to the National Ski Areas Association, in the U.S., on average 38 skiers die here every year. I can't find numbers to make these statistics comparable, but I doubt there is actually more skiing in France, a country 1/5th the size of the U.S.. The only logical explanation is that the threat of lawsuits has made skiing in the United States safer than skiing in France.
    People are always eager to blame lawyers for all of the worlds problems, yet we ignor the good things that come from lawsuits. The car industry probably still wouldn't put seatbelts in cars if it wasn't for the work of lawyers like Ralph Nader and other "ambulance chasers". Clearly lawsuits are directly responsible for cars having airbags, gas tanks that don't explode, tailgates that don't pop open at the drop of a hat, cribs that don't turn into gallows when an infant tries to climb out and numerous other safety items that we now take for granted. Next time you complain about the lawyer tabs on your bike, think of the Pinto.

  2. #2
    That darn Yankee TexasGuy's Avatar
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    Oh I dont know. I like to think that while we are making progress it allows alot of the idiots and imbossals to survive in this world. You can live and survive in this world without a brain because everybody else takes care of your thinking for you. And your'e protected from dieing of starvation or some other reason because some lawyer has seen fit too.
    Life is about hanging onto what you think is important and finding out what really is important.
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  3. #3
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    Yeah I think things get taken a little too far... I mean, seatbelt laws are fine, that saves what, a few thousand lives a year? But a law that saves 15 lives a year? And those 15 people were out there doing something they almost certainly knew was dangerous anyway? How much time and money was spent creating and enforcing those laws, that could have been better spent elsewhere? I think what we need is a Department of Common Sense. The DCS shouldn't be able to create any new laws, but they should be able to veto any law or regulation from any other government agency. Members of the DCS shouldn't be appointed, instead they should be elected only by first-level workers from other departments (Interior, Homeland Security, Health, etc etc etc), no management (because the further up you are in management, the less common sense you have).
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  4. #4
    45 miles/week Eggplant Jeff's Avatar
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    Upon reflection, I can elaborate my thoughts.

    Laws that save me from things mostly beyond my control are fine. (Seatbelts for example save my life if someone else hits me, serious mechanical failure on the car, etc).

    Laws that prevent me from doing things by my own wishes that threaten only my life, I dislike.

    I realize this can sometimes be a fairly fine line, but here's some examples.

    A law that requires basic safety equipment for a sport (such as skiing) would be fine.

    A law that prevents a type of skiing (such as jumping out of a helicopter with a snowboard on my feet and nothing else) categorically (even on private property, no one else there, etc) just because it is hazardous to me, is not.

    If they are that worried about it, I'm OK with laws requiring informed consent (I know I might fall out of the helicopter and land on a pine tree and die)... But I disagree with prohibiting stuff just because it's dangerous to me.
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  5. #5
    That darn Yankee TexasGuy's Avatar
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    DAmn law-suit happy people and dumb people.
    Life is about hanging onto what you think is important and finding out what really is important.
    "Stop Ruining my joke!", "No, a joke implies humor attached at no additional cost"
    So many sayings, so little sig space.

  6. #6
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    I don't like any law that infringes on what I consider to be my own judgement. If I don't want to wear a seat belt I won't, my choice not the govmints. Lawers interest is the bottom line period. Lots of people consider riding a bike in traffic to be dangerous can you imagine if lawyers got together on some class action that stopped all riding on public streets between 8 and 6PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid
    I read this article about the unfortunate death of extreme skier Doug Coombs. http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/05/16/news/skiers.php
    The thing that caught my eye was the statement about how the fear of lawsuits has made US ski resorts adopt stringent safety rules that were partially responsible for Coombs moving to France, where they let people do whatever they want.
    According to the article, 53 skiers died in France this year. According to the National Ski Areas Association, in the U.S., on average 38 skiers die here every year. I can't find numbers to make these statistics comparable, but I doubt there is actually more skiing in France, a country 1/5th the size of the U.S.. The only logical explanation is that the threat of lawsuits has made skiing in the United States safer than skiing in France.
    Just because a country is smaller with less population does not mean it has fewer people participating in a given activity. If there are more people skiing more often in the US wouldn't you expect us to be at least comparable with France when it comes to international competition? Add to that the fact that if you are a Brit or from parts of Southern Europe the odds are that if you ski you do a lot of it in France may well mean they have a lot more skier-days than the US.

  8. #8
    mmm... chicken! Funkychicken's Avatar
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    there's a difference between the laws themselves saving lives and lawsuits (in which lawyers have the most direct impact) saving lives. Lawsuits force comemrcial responsibility on the profit-driven in place of a fear of god. unfortunately for the lawyers' credibility, safety regulations arise out of more than mere lawsuits. instead, their direct effect is above and beyond the reach of the idiot-proofing already provided by legislation, in that commercial accountability kicks in where enacted laws are lacking.

    the problem with lawsuits is that it provides "quasi-legal" accountability that relies on capitalist ideas. Greed will come into play at some stage, and things go awry e.g. ridiculous signage required ("warning- contents of a coffee cup may be hot" duh!) however this is why it works in the first place.
    That's a lie.

  9. #9
    works for truffles pigmode's Avatar
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    Sure they save lives. You can't suck blood from a dead body.

  10. #10
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Activity that has the potential for harming no one but the participant should be left alone. Where would the list stop? First extreme sking, then base jumping, then extreme mountian biking.... next thing you know they'll outlaw tiddly-winks because you might get hit in the eye with one

  11. #11
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey
    Activity that has the potential for harming no one but the participant should be left alone. Where would the list stop? First extreme sking, then base jumping, then extreme mountian biking.... next thing you know they'll outlaw tiddly-winks because you might get hit in the eye with one
    Riding motorcycles without a helmet. How would you categorize that?

    People in our family always shake our heads when we see these idiots. (I won't mince words on this one). Get in a crash on a motorcycle without a helmet, and you have a remarkably good chance of being a vegetative burden on society for the remainder of your days in a taxpayer-funded care facility. I kind of resent financing other peoples' stupidity.

    My point is not that I disagree with you, but that we must be careful when we say "don't hurt anyone but yourself".
    The search for inner peace continues...

  12. #12
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Everyone hates lawyers, until they need one. I look up to many lawyers. Consumer advocates are among my hero figures. Gosh, I heard reports, some go into law- even with the intent of not making tons of Money! If not for lawyers, doubt we'd have OSHA.

  13. #13
    That darn Yankee TexasGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezealot
    Everyone hates lawyers, until they need one. I look up to many lawyers. Consumer advocates are among my hero figures. Gosh, I heard reports, some go into law- even with the intent of not making tons of Money! If not for lawyers, doubt we'd have OSHA.
    heh. I don't have much respect for lawyers. The only lawyer I've ever had to use pretty much screwed me / dropped the ball.
    Life is about hanging onto what you think is important and finding out what really is important.
    "Stop Ruining my joke!", "No, a joke implies humor attached at no additional cost"
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  14. #14
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    The only lawyer that protects your from lawyers hired by powerful interests out to get you is your own. Be it hired solely by you or in conjunction with others' Not that I have that much faith in our legal system, but face our legal system without your own representation. You'd have to be suicidal.
    Lets take fighting lousy HMO's. We have a personal axe to grind here in this household. Or when family members had troubles with lousy doctors. Then , we can't have enough lawyers.
    Not to says lots of lawyers are on the wrong side. Just not necessarily mine.
    Issues needing legal oversight by honest lawyers. Our legal, medical, constitutional, and product safety issues. I say those wanting to deny you legal access are doing it for self interest.Not that you have made a dent into their profitability. As to legal challenges to those in the medical profession. With the quality of so many American doctors. Believe me, from our family history with lousy doctors - We have every right to think the way we do.
    When you are wronged, your financial threat to these interests is like a gnat attacking an elephant. McDonald's hot coffee not withstanding.

  15. #15
    ....gets the cheese Second Mouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro
    Riding motorcycles without a helmet. How would you categorize that?

    People in our family always shake our heads when we see these idiots. (I won't mince words on this one). Get in a crash on a motorcycle without a helmet, and you have a remarkably good chance of being a vegetative burden on society for the remainder of your days in a taxpayer-funded care facility. I kind of resent financing other peoples' stupidity.

    My point is not that I disagree with you, but that we must be careful when we say "don't hurt anyone but yourself".
    I've heard this argument for several decades, and I think the "perpetual vegetative state" thing is a bit overdone. Does anyone have any numbers on how often this sort of thing actually happens? I don't know why the argument doesn't include people who are physically injured badly enough to require care for the rest of their lives. I suppose it gets down to whether you want to regulate people's behavior based on what burden they might create for society, vs. allowing people to make their own judgments about their own actions, even though their actions could conceivably create a burden, albiet a small one, on the rest of us. I can understand both sides, but I'm not sure the taxpayer-funded thing is too accurate.

    As to the OP, the vast majority of skier deaths in the U.S., and probably in Europe, too, occur outside of ski areas. Coombs died in an area that's not considered part of a ski resort. And as far as I know, there's not a law that says I can't go into the backcountry right after a big dump and ski across a known slidepath. Since that's where most of these deaths occur, the "lawyers" argument falls a little flat. Most of these folks know what they're doing, they understand the dangers and they accept those dangers as being part of the sport. I'm not sure we should pass a law making this kind of activity illegal, though.

    Cheers.

  16. #16
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro
    Riding motorcycles without a helmet. How would you categorize that?

    People in our family always shake our heads when we see these idiots. (I won't mince words on this one). Get in a crash on a motorcycle without a helmet, and you have a remarkably good chance of being a vegetative burden on society for the remainder of your days in a taxpayer-funded care facility. I kind of resent financing other peoples' stupidity.

    My point is not that I disagree with you, but that we must be careful when we say "don't hurt anyone but yourself".

    And just how many of these brain dead people have you 'financed'? It's bullsh!t logic, if the gubmint did't spent your money on a cadaver, they'd spend it elsewhere.

    Actually, more brain trauma patients are helmet wearers than not in high speed accidents. A helmet can only do so much.

    Tell me, will you resent me too when I apply for public assistance to help with my Leukemia related medical bills

  17. #17
    Senior Member pedex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasGuy
    heh. I don't have much respect for lawyers. The only lawyer I've ever had to use pretty much screwed me / dropped the ball.
    So one lawyer failed to live up to your expectations and theyre all bad now?

    After working for quite a few and currently having more than 30 attorneys as clients I have quite a bit of respect for what they do, most that I know work damn hard at what they do and most of the ones I deal with do a pretty good job at it. The legal system is what we've made of it, you reap what you sew. If the laws were simpler and we had better educations as kids we wouldnt need as many lawyers thats for sure. Ignorance of laws however still isnt an excuse and most would rather not bother learning so lawyers do what they do, deal with it.

    From a systemic perspective yes lawyers help save lives, they are part of the process of enforcing laws.

  18. #18
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    He don't like black folks either, for the same reason.

  19. #19
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I really get upset at those trying to deny my access to the courts. Example. Being that corporate hired lawyers have no fears of where their funding comes from. ONe way to make for an even playing field is the use of class action suits.
    Class action suits can be useful in issue such as product safety or environmental enforcement. (ie- remember the Julie Robert's movie- Erin Brokovich. whose side were you on then?) don't ask Tx guy.?
    Well. Part of Bush's torte reform. Limiting our rights to form class action suits. This is the only way to make citizens equal in power to corporate lawyers.
    Wait until a nurse tells your family that the administrating doctor is being neglegient in your dad's treatment. and ends up killing your dad. . You check it out and find she is right.( good source in such a situation. "AMA Lay guide to Medicine.") try to consider sueing . Impossible.

  20. #20
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Second Mouse
    I've heard this argument for several decades, and I think the "perpetual vegetative state" thing is a bit overdone. Does anyone have any numbers on how often this sort of thing actually happens?
    Here's some figures:

    ScienceDaily - New Study Shows California Motorcycle Helmet Law Saves Money (-35% reductionn in healthcare cost)

    Personally, I think there's way too many restrictive laws "for our own good". Yet, I take responsibility for my actions and if I lose an arm sky-diving, so be it. I'm not gonna sue someone like a lot of other people. And I certainly don't believe in these laws requiring hospitals to treat everyone that comes in with life-threatening injuries. We need to clean up the gene-pool of a lot of idiots, let them die from their own mistakes darn it!

  21. #21
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey
    And just how many of these brain dead people have you 'financed'? It's bullsh!t logic, if the gubmint did't spent your money on a cadaver, they'd spend it elsewhere.

    Actually, more brain trauma patients are helmet wearers than not in high speed accidents. A helmet can only do so much.

    Tell me, will you resent me too when I apply for public assistance to help with my Leukemia related medical bills

    Compared to money we're throwing away on other BS the government does, it isn't much, but every time I see riders out without helmets I am reminded of the stories that my wife told me from a period of time when she worked at Las Colinas (in Santee, Ca). There were three or four people in that institution alone at the time who were in permanently vegetative states as the result of motorcycle accidents. It always leaves me shaking my head. I always wear my helmet when I ride my bike, so I really don't see why it's such a big deal for them to wear one too. I have to wear a seat belt when I drive (not that I mind that), so what's the big deal about requiring someone operating a motor vehicle to use a piece of safety equipment?

    As for the numbers - have you taken into account that 75%+ of riders do wear helmets? I don't know what the injury rate is, but I do know that a valid statistical comparison would factor this in.

    Illnesses are a different thing entirely than incapacitating oneself due to risky behavior. I'm a lifelong non-smoker, and while I'd rather not have my health insurance rates affected by the claims experience of smokers, but given the addictive nature of tobacco, and (as is the case with nearly every other illness) the fact that the actual cause of the affliction can't be attributed with certainty to behaviors that increase their likelihood, we have to accept it as a cost of living in society, and do our best to care for them and try to educate our children so we can hopefully spare some of the suffering of our future generations. I certainly don't begrudge helping to pay my share of the cost of helping people who are sick.

    I genuinely wish you well with your struggle, but this issue has nothing to do with your situation. At some point people need to take personal responsibility for their actions - and for some of those actions (like pulling 80 mph wheelies on your crotch-rocket on the highway - which I've actually witnessed), the responsibility means more than being willing to say "I guess I had it coming. I'll have to sit here in this care facility for the next 50 years because I'm too incapacitated to work".

    Peace,

    Z
    Last edited by USAZorro; 05-19-06 at 07:32 AM.
    The search for inner peace continues...

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