Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In praise of the right to sue

Be grateful we have the right to sue.
It's common for people to proclaim we're "too litigious" as a nation and that there are just too many frivolous lawsuits. I say we're not and that there would be a lot more lawsuits if it weren't so costly to seek justice. In fact, as long as the legal system offers the only means of securing justice, people will continue to be litigious. If we are wronged and we’re not allowed to knock on the door of the offending party and pummel him with a crowbar and if the only legal means we have of getting some justice is by filing suit then there's no choice but to sue - or let the wrong fester inside.  
Road rage? School shootings? Postal workers going…postal? We get offended, wronged and mistreated in myriad – usually minor – ways all the time, day after day, year after year. From an aggressive driver who just has to turn left when the light turns green even though he doesn’t have the right of way to the person who cuts in front of the line at the store, all of these things create hostility. Yet we certainly can't realistically sue the person who cuts in front of us or refuses to let you merge when your lane is closing. And you can't even give him the finger because the kids are watching from the back seat. With no means of securing justice, the hostility grows inside.

Now, if we could just beat the crap out of these people when these things happen then we’d all feel a whole lot better. Eventually, there would be a lot less offensive behavior since people would have to think twice before pissing someone off. But since we can't, we get to sue. Rather than condemning our right to sue we should be grateful.

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