Let’s Get Real About Personal Responsibility!
Twice in the past week, I overheard conversations where someone was injured, and someone else immediately concluded that it was the injured person, and only the injured person, who should take responsibility for the incident taking place. I’m sorry, but the misguided notion that an injury victim should assume all responsibility for an injury is offensive and backward.
Here are a couple common scenarios. One is that you are hurt while stepping out of your vehicle onto an icy parking lot and falling due to the ice. The other is that you are hurt falling on a walkway or parking lot because of a hole in the walking surface.
What I’m hearing from others, and what I find offensive, is this notion that whoever falls should “take personal responsibility” and not blame someone else. I call it a “blame the victim mentality” with a backward way of looking at things.
If you want to talk about personal responsibility, how about the idea that whoever controls the area should take some reasonable steps to maintain it so that folks don’t get hurt. There’s a pothole? How about fixing it! There’s ice? How about putting down some sand/salt! The public should expect that whoever controls the area “takes personal responsibility” and accepts blame!
We all know that blame can be shared. People should look where they’re going. People should exercise a reasonable degree of care while walking. But at the same time, if you have a business, and control a parking lot or walkway, you should also exercise reasonable care and actually make sure it is properly maintained. And if someone is injured, you should accept personal responsibility, too.
The rest of us, well, maybe we should blame the victim less and be quicker to hold people accountable for failing to maintain the areas they control. We’ll all be safer that way, and as a people, we won’t so quick to stick it to a victim which is a heartless and immoral way of approaching things.
From a legal point of view, this time of year, many of these incidents happen. They are especially fact specific. If you know of someone injured from an icy parking lot or walkway, remember, don’t be so quick to blame the victim, and understand, instead, that whoever controls the area has some moral and legal obligations.
There may even be a reasonable personal injury case to pursue. An experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate it based on the facts. When someone is hurt, whoever controlled the area, they should accept responsibility. When they don’t, a good lawyer will make sure they are held accountable.