Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Personal Injury Fraud

If there is something that I despise worse than a slimy, dishonest lawyer, it's the despicable and vile client behind him. I'm talking about the jerks who sue the city only to line their pockets. They and their attorneys know full and well that the city has little time or the human resources necessary to deal with the thousands of lawsuits which they clog the system with, and anticipate a handsome settlement instead of a costly, protracted court proceeding, where actual evidence of injury and witnesses are required.

This past year, the city of New York paid $570 million for personal injuries cases, of which nearly one-third were for medical malpractice cases. In addition, it cost the city $12 million to oversee and administer both the settlements and court cases.

Why this is upsetting is two-fold. Firstly, the demand for jurists to participate in these clown-shows is insatiable, and carries penalties for those who ignore the involuntary "conscription" mostly because they are disgusted with the system and have better things to do with their lives. I won't even bother getting into how they loudly play these denigrating infomercial videos trying to sell you the whole cock and bull story, saying how in medieval times, the justice system was cruel and unfair, and now because they picked 12 idiots off the street, your life is in better hands. Of course, it followed with videos of carefully groomed and vetted selection of minorities and blue-collar workers, [just like you and I], who say they never wanted to serve jury duty, but now they will never forgo the opportunity again [presumingly they never felt so in control and powerful before in their lives!]

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly because ultimately it is you and I, the enslaved taxpayers who will foot the bill, for Bill who fallaciously claims he injured his foot.

Anecdotally, I made a recent trip to 125th Street in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan to view a certain building. Coming from the east side, I walked six avenues over until I reached my destination. Along the way, I noticed about eight or ten younger people in wheelchairs scooting along, going about their merry business. Literally countless others that I encountered were walking with canes, or wearing neck-braces. Hell, I'm not trying to judge these seemingly able-bodied and mostly young and middle-aged people; perhaps there is a nearby hospital they were merely traversing to-and-from. But the cynical side of me questions this is the new lifestyle, to wear your injured, victim status like a badge of honor, while openly defrauding the city which in turn robs you and me to pay them. Which gangster wouldn't put down his gun, and let the city and state do the dirty work for him?

Read more here: Gothamist (I even posted a related comment there)
and here: WNBC
and NY Times (NYC passes bill making property owner responsible for adjacent city sidewalks)

On second thoughts, perhaps it's statistically possible that more urban-dwelling minorities made a stint in the military and have injuries to go along with that service, moreso than the other typical folk you see bustling down 34th Street, Wall Street or in SoHo. I only find it interesting that you usually see such characters traipsing around the poorer neighborhoods. Also, please don't confuse me for a [closet-]racist, I find it an irrational position to be of such mindset.

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