The Wheels of Justice
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The Legal Literacy Project


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The bedrock out of which our system of justice arises is the principle, "Do no harm, and, if you do, you are responsible for all, not just some, of the harm that you cause. In this world, there are those who inflict injury and those who suffer injury. When an inflictor of injury "digs a hole", our system of justice expects him or her to fill it up -- not a quarter of the way or half of the way -- but to restore it all the way. Our system of justice is meant to make us more careful so the production of injury will be minimized. It is a good system that makes sense. Don't you want to live in a country whose rule of law tries to minimize the production of injury rather than does nothing to address it?

Yet, did you know that its legal for drivers of motor vehicles to hurt others?  Yes, that's right, the law of the States of New York, New Jersey and other states make it legal for drivers to inflict injury. As long as the drivers hurt you only "a little bit", it is perfectly legal! Where is the line drawn between the legal infliction of injuries and the illegal infliction of injuries? The line is not clear. The trend has been to let drivers get away with inflicting more and more injuries.

How is this possible you ask? The Insurance Companies have foisted this injustice upon us. They want to collect your premiums but don't want to pay out benefits. The Insurance Companies have enlisted the politicians to carve out a subset of cases in which it is legal for drivers to hurt people. In this way, the Insurance Companies do not have to pay according to the liability insurance policies that they have issued.

The goal of minimizing the production of injuries would be better served by requiring liability insurance policies to carry a deductible payment of which would be the responsibility of the negligent motorist. A deductible would encourage motorists to drive carefully and, because it would save the Liability Insurance Companies money, would allow the politicians to continue to kowtow to their Insurance Company Masters.

Serving the interests of the Insurance Companies is not good for society. Without restitution, nothing restores the scales of justice back to balance. The "hole" that a negligent driver has dug stays unfilled. There is no safety valve to relieve the strong emotions that the injustice has ignited. Hence, people are encouraged to take justice into their own hands. Revenge replaces restitution. By hook or by crook, justice gets done.