Archive for June 2nd, 2008

More on fraudulent claims after an incident

June 2, 2008

I posted about the problem of dealing with fraudulent claims after something goes wrong. A crisisblogger reader submitted this comment which I agreed to keep anonymous.

While I have nothing to dispute the ratio of spurious to genuine claims you talk about, I would agree that after any event thr are spurious claims – and those spurious claims have a disproportionate impact. For example they are the ones people hear about and so tar all with the same brush unless they are obviously genuine. Sadly that breeds a degree of skepticism amongst people. Something that shocked me when I held a small fund raiser for victims of an industrial tragedy were the  number of folks who said they were unsympathetic despite the horror of the event because a bunch of people were going to be made very rich from it. Years later, as the litigation dragged on , one local person was quoted in a newspaper article saying their neighbors had made claims and got money – ” heck, so I put in a claim too for the sake of my kids..” It showed that some have no scruples and it only confirms what people thought would happen.  As jurors at legal trials are ordinary people, then they will likely share the same skepticism when they have to adjudicate on whether a claim against a corporation is genuine or not, meaning genuine claims risk not being properly compensated. That is in noone’s interest.
It’s easy for the lawyers to get blamed for this, but they are far from all the blame.
In short, you’re experience is borne out by what I have seen, but it may only be a handful that cause the problem. And are the courts the best place for these issues to be addressed? Perhaps forced adjudication is part of the answer. “