October 28, 2010 — Injury law is almost always about taking responsibility and making up for harm. Seems simple and yet lawyers are routinely needed to resolve these matters. Why? All too often, people see clearly when others are responsible but completely miss their own responsibility. A recent Dear Abby column illustrated this perfectly.
A mother told Abby of a problem she had with a friend who her sons had injured. Her boys were playing with squirt guns in the friend’s yard. One of the boys opened the friend’s car door to use it as a shield. When the friend approached to close the door (she wasn’t thrilled about having a soaked car, apparently) the boy slammed the door on her hand, breaking two fingers.
Mom immediately recognized that this was her son’s fault. She apologized. Profusely, she says. However, when it comes to taking responsibility, mom is outraged. See, the injured friend is a professional massage therapist. She couldn’t work and wanted mom to pay for her lost wages. Mom was outraged. She didn’t feel she should compensate her friend at all. She explained, “I feel that accidents happen and it just as easily could have happened to her if our children weren’t present.”
Um, really? You think the car door would have slammed on your friend’s hand on its own?
Abby nailed this one. She replied,
“What your son did was unfortunate, but your attitude about it is appalling. You should not only reimburse [your friend] for the work she lost, you should also offer to pay for her medical expense. Your son should also take responsibility and offer to do errands for her…”
This is responsibility. Acknowledge fault and then make up for the harm caused. Simple, it seems. And yet people routinely fail. This mom had no problem with acknowledging fault but when it came to making up for the harm, she balked.
As Erie injury lawyers, we see this theme play out in every imaginable way. Careless people cause injury and then, somehow, come to the conclusion that it was all the victim’s fault. Or, the victim is exaggerating. Or, it was just an accident… Pick your excuse.
Responsibility is simple but not always easy. Acknowledge fault. Make up for the harm caused. It might be necessary to notify a homeowner’s insurance company or some other insurance company but the involvement of an insurance company shouldn’t change the simple rules of responsibility.
For more information on Pennsylvania injury cases, visit our injury page or read the articles in our injury library . We are Pennsylvania injury lawyers who believe in providing free information to the public about injuries caused by carelessness and the cases that result from them. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Erie lawyers, call today toll free at 814-273-2010 or locally at 814-273-2010.