Thursday, September 3, 2020

That's gonna hurt

Even the horse thought it was funny!
There are so many things to talk about these days but the one that I'm going to talk about is torn jeans.  I remember back when I was a kid, my mom had a fit anytime I came home with a hole in my jeans.  My mom would then break out the iron and patch my pants - over and over, again.  Thing is that even though I kept falling, I didn't wear out my knees.  Bruised them a few times, yes, but rip and bloodied, they were not.

The question, then, is why wear pants?  Is it just to cover yourself up so that the general public doesn't see your bare skin?  Maybe that's part of it but I'm guessing the other part is that it is supposed to act as a sort of protection from scraps and falls.

I bring this up if for no other reason than a young lady I saw walking downtown the other day.  Young Lady was wearing the latest fashion - jeans that had HUGE torn holes in the pants around her knees.  I watched as Young Lady was navigating the downtown sidewalks when, for whatever reason, she tripped and did a face plant on the sidewalk.

Can you say ker-SPLAT?!?

I'm thinking, ooooh, but that's gonna leave a mark.  After a while she stands up and while her nose was still in the right place and proportional to her face, her knees were a royal bloodied mess.  Maybe had she not had holes in her jeans her knees might now not look like rare ground beef.

If falling on your face and grinding your knees wasn't enough, Young Lady started in with screaming that she was going to sue the living heck out of the city for not providing safe sidewalks upon which to walk.  OK, she didn't really say it like that but sometimes kids read these posts and I'm not going to type the blue-flamed laced words that she actually did spew to everyone within earshot.

The problem is, and I'm betting that, Young Lady probably didn't have a clue how to go about suing the city for her sidewalk issue.  Good thing that there was a law librarian nearby who could witness her acrobatics and then blog at out it to the world.

Believe it or don't, cities really don't like being sued and will do most anything to reduce any award to zero (0) if given the chance.  Of course, this is probably why states around the country have enacted things like Tort Claims Acts which are written in favor of government entities and whose sole purpose is to limit liability and protect government employees and the departments they work for.

As it turns out, South Carolina, where Young Lady happened to trip and tear up her knees, has it's own Torts Claim Act called, not surprisingly, the South Carolina Tort Claims Act under § 15-78-10.  As is normally, the case, the statutes themselves are vaguely written so that even if you do understand the language of lawyers, you're not going to understand how these Tort Claims Acts work.

Because most people are ignorant of the workings of government and how to sue said government, it is up to publishers like that are willing and able to help the unsuspecting consumer navigate the currents of governmental litigation.

So, the general process of these things is that you must first file an administrative claim against whatever governmental agency you're going after and wait to have your claim sustained or denied.  In some jurisdictions, you have about 6 months to a year to file a claim against a government agency.  

What often happens, though, is that you file a claim against your agency of choice, the agency waits 6 months to do anything and, after the limitations period runs, the agency denies your claim thereby barring you from filing suit.

Sounds like a racket so you gotta stay on your toes.  Which is why (love 'em or hate 'em) people hire lawyers to handle personal injury lawsuits.  It's because attorneys know and understand the workings of government agencies and know how to play the system to the benefit of their client(s), they are the best choice when looking to sue anyone.  

So, whether you are a Young Lady with ground beef for knees or are simply looking to bone up on the laws relating to suing government agencies, take a moment and look at your states Tort Claims Act (and every state has one) to see where you stand.

No comments:

Post a Comment