John P. Young is your Indiana injury attorney. Mr. Young practices in Indianapolis law firm of Young and Young which has been in business for more than 56 years. Today I want to talk about toys and children. In the paper, in the let it out section of the Indianapolis Star was the following quote.
“If people are going to sue McDonalds over toys, why not sue Wendy’s, Burger King and all the others too?”
LET’S GET DOWN TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER. The person that wrote this thinks suing someone who causes another harm is dirty business. Why do they think that? They think that because the insurance industry has effectively convinced people that asking someone who is negligent and causes injury to pay for the harm they cause is a dirty idea. The insurance industry has convinced people of this because the insurance industry makes more money when citizens are fooled into thinking that an injured person is trying to get something for nothing or is just sue happy. As you know, drivers and companies and people are insured. They are insured so that if they are negligent and hurt someone, the insurance will pay for the harm done. If the Insurance industry convinces people that lawsuits are dirty, then those same people, when they are jurors, will not give the injured person fair compensation for the harm they have suffered. Really, the insurance industry has convinced us that what our Mothers taught us is not right, that you should make up for the harm you cause. If people think it is ok not to have to make up for the harm they cause only the insurance company profits. Society does not profit from this thinking. On the contrary, society suffers when people think it is okay not to make the insurance companies pay fair compensation. For example, think about the person who is in a wreck and becomes paralyzed. If the insurance company for the person who negligently caused the collision is not made to make up for the harm, by paying medical bills and lost wages, then we, as a society have to make up for that harm by paying to keep the injured Hoosier through Medicare or Medicaid, and Social Security Disability. So the truth is when we buy into the insurance company’s lies, we only hurt ourselves.
Now, let’s talk about those toys. The problem with the toys is that the paint on them contains lead. Lead is a poison that cripples a child’s brain. If the child’s brain is damaged by the lead, then that child will not be able to be a healthy contributing member of society. That child will require support through Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. So is the issue really about that dirty idea a suing someone or is it really asking the person who causes the harm to make up for the harm? If people and businesses know they will have to make up for the harm they cause, they will be more careful and less likely to buy cheap lead painted toys. If McDonald’s bought toys from a reputable manufacturer (maybe even an American rather than Chinese manufacturer) there would be no lead in the toys. However, because they buy cheap toys with lead in the paint and then entice children to come to their restaurant to eat and play with those lead tainted toys, then yes, McDonalds, and anyone else who attempts to make an unjust profit, should be sued. McDonalds should make up for the harm they cause. If McDonald’s (and its insurer) knows it will have to make up for the harm caused by the lead in the toys, they will be less likely to allow lead in the toys. Should the maker of the toys be held responsible as well? Yes they should be held responsible too. There should be no incentive to take the cheap way out and endanger children. As long as American Jurors stick to what their mother’s taught them, that people should make up for the harm they cause, the incentive to take advantage will be lost.