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View Diary: What? This isn’t a Disney ride? (72 comments)

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  •  I had a friend who worked (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anti Fanatic

    at a court of appeals here in Louisiana who said, jokingly, that some people acted so stupidly that they should not be allowed to recover damages from somebody else.  She was in the clear minority at the courts, however. Clearly, most juries did not agree with her.  Many juries think that if somebody is hurt, then somebody has to pay for that.  

    Her favorite example was (and you can tell from what I'm about to say that this was a long time ago) someone in rural Louisiana who was trying to put one of those big TV antennas on his roof.  You know, the kind that were like 10 or 15 feet tall. Lots of people used to have those, especially if they lived some distance from the "city."  Problem is, he was carrying that thing around in a thunderstorm.  You guessed it -- he got struck by lightning.  Severe injuries, no death.  Tragic, nonetheless.  However, does that mean that his injuries were the fault of the company that made the antenna?  The jury thought so -- they made the company pay for this guy's medical bills, his pain and suffering, etc.  

    •  I know about the antenna thing (1+ / 0-)
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      coffeetalk

      as an electronics engineer I get asked often to help with an antenna raising.  Used to be very popular in the 1970's and earlier and is coming back now due to DTV (why have cable when you can get all the TV you need with DTV for free??).

      But the big problem with antennas was people installing them near power lines.  They would loose balance of the tall mast pole and the pole would fall into power lines.

      The power company was often sued for "not making their lines more visible" or for "not including a warning in with the bill about hazards of working with tall or long tools or appliances".

      Nowadays there is a warning label on all outdoor antenna equipment and on every single section of the masting pole.  Even a rotator box has the warning on the box and on a piece of paper inside the box.

      Is it the power company's responsibility  to insure that people working with antennas are "safe", or is it the antenna installer's responsibility to be safe??

      Howlin' at the World from the Left Side of the Planet

      by WolfmanSpike on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:44:55 AM PDT

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    •  Careful (0+ / 0-)

      You're going to be accused of making right-wing arguments against jury awards!

      Seriously, I think that responsibility, like values and even religion, are not issues which the Democrats should just cede to the Republicans.  That is one of the interesting things about Sen. Obama's campaign.  He is not being afraid to say that those are HIS issues, not the issues of the far right.  

      Distrust all unreasoning fanatics - even those who agree with you

      by Anti Fanatic on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 10:47:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not making any right wing arguements (0+ / 0-)

        I'm just saying this very simple thing...

        Where did the self-responsibility and common sense go?

        If I were to raise an antenna, I would figure there might be some danger and take the time to find out if there is a danger and what precautions I need to take to prevent injury BEFORE I attempted to do it and if I could not deal with the responsibility then I would abandon the task and find someone to do it who knows how it is done.

        Nowadays people think that since it was sold at a retail store that it has "passed some safety test" or something, making it infallable, totally safe, harmless.  And that is not true and cannot ever be true.

        There is NO safe cigarette. But people still smoke and sue the tobacco companies.

        There is NO safe weed whacker.  But people still use them to trim their lawns and cut their feet with them and sue the equipment manufacturer.

        There is NO safe car, but people think their car is safe because it has an air bag and seat belt, so they speed down the road driving recklessly.  Then when the tires blow out because the tires get overheated due to reckless handling maneuvers and excessive speed they sue the tire manufacturer.  Or they wreck their car and break their nose because their face hit the air bag, which SAVED THEIR LIFE, claiming the air bag was defective.

        I've even heard of a case where a person sued the manufacturer of their new LCD TV set because it uses fluorescent lighting as the backlight, and they are "allergic" to fluorescent lighting (anyone ever heard of such a thing?).  They would have never bought the set if it had a warning label on it.

        I had a guy sue our company because the picture on the video game "burned his head".  No joke. Now how can the picture on a TV set "burn your head"?  Even if it did, why did he keep playing the game?  Why did he not just stop playing it??

        This is utterly stupid.  

        If you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. If you don't know the answers, don't play a game show.  If you don't know how to install an antenna, then DON'T.  Leave it to a professional.  Don't do things you think you can do.  If you only think you can do it, then you probably can't and should leave it to someone who does know.  Don't do it anyway, assuming it is somehow "safe" because it does not come with a warning label, then sue because something went wrong and you got hurt.

        This is simply common sense.  

        BTW, in my opinion, it is NOT the power company's fault that a person gets electrocuted because they have a mishap installing an antenna.  The person should have known of the hazard beforehand and took the necessary precautions to protect himself.  

        The chances of getting electrocuted by a falling antenna mast in the presence of power lines is about the same as getting injured by falling off the roof of the house because of wearing improper footwear (which won't grip the roofing material and cause slippage).  Does one sue the manufacturer of his shoes or the roofing material in the event he falls off the roof??  Of course not, but the power company IS sued because the power company is a rich public utility company who can't stand the negative publicity and will quickly pay off a settlement to avoid negative publicity.  The shoe or roofing company, although both may be rich and publically traded, are NOT in the public eye like a utility company is, and will probably fight the case and have a good chance of winning.

        This is why you find quite a few suits against public utilities, transit, or other "in the spotlight" companies, like McDonalds, who depend on public opinion.  The payout is like winning the lottery, just easier.

        Howlin' at the World from the Left Side of the Planet

        by WolfmanSpike on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 11:12:59 AM PDT

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        •  Whoa! Whoa! (0+ / 0-)

          The "careful" comment was not seriously addressed to you.  I had been accused of that by another commenter here - I was warning you that they might hit you next!  I don't think that either of us made right wing comments.  I was grateful to see you agreeing with me.

          Distrust all unreasoning fanatics - even those who agree with you

          by Anti Fanatic on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 12:48:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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