So sue me

About a month ago, I took my he-man wrestler son to the emergency room for only the second time ever. He had bent his elbow at an odd angle in practice, and though I was fairly sure the prescribed remedy would be ice, immobilization, and ibuprofen, I went through the motions of having it checked, just in case.

Three hours and a pile of forms later, we walked out of the hospital with an ice pack and a sling, as well as instructions to take ibuprofen. (Told you so.) After a few days, my son’s arm was back to normal. Case closed on a normal adolescent rite of passage.

Apparently, I was wrong.

Last week I received a form from the insurance company to be filed in cases of an accidental injury. Although a bit puzzled (shouldn’t most injuries be accidental? and if they are instead deliberate, shouldn’t THOSE be the ones requiring explanation?), I attacked the form with my pen, eager to move on.

I quickly observed that the form was intended to help the insurance company determine where it could lay blame, i.e. who else might be able to pay for the charges. There were sections that requested the name and address of the responsible party and homeowner’s insurance information. My hackles really started to rise when I reached the question about whether I had retained legal representation, but I didn’t completely lose it until question number 9.

If a lawsuit or claim against the responsible party will not be filed, please explain.

Wait, what? I have to explain why I’m NOT filing a lawsuit? I guess that means the presumption is that we should always be looking for someone else to blame, and I find that appalling. It should be the other way around. People should have to justify the lawsuits they do file, not the ones they don’t.

Whether we play sports, get behind of the wheel of a car, order a hot beverage at a drive-thru window, or [fill in the blank with your own example], we bear responsibility for our own actions. My son chose to participate, with my blessing, in a physical contact sport. Sometimes people get hurt, and we both knew that going in–and accepted the risk accordingly. Now that it has actually happened, we can’t look for somewhere else to shift the blame.

That’s my not-so-humble opinion. If you don’t like it, sue me.

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