Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

In 2018 there were 160,378 casualties of all severities in road traffic accidents with 1,782 reported road deaths.
There don’t seem to be any statistics but let’s assume that half of those casualties were down to mechanical failure, bad weather and anything other than human error. Almost a thousand people killed by mistakes - situations in which someone made an error of judgement, a wrong decision, a lack of attention.

Do you agree that "People who make mistakes shouldn’t be driving". That
Car Crash
would instantly solve all problems on the roads because no one would be allowed to drive. Do you know anyone (including you) that doesn’t make mistakes? Mostly we get away with it because the mistakes aren’t serious.

Have you ever sent an email to the wrong address? Ruined a recipe by mistakenly putting in the wrong ingredient? Made the mistake of advising someone to take the left hand turn instead of the right? Most of the mistakes we make leave us, at worst, red faced. However, we seem to live in a culture where someone - anyone - has to be blamed. Read of any situation where lives have been lost and after the story of what happened the next question is "Who was to blame?".
At Hillsborough in 1989, shortly before kickoff, to try to ease overcrowding outside the entrance turnstiles, Hillsborough police match commander David Duckenfield gave the order for exit gate C to be opened – leading to a greater influx of supporters into the already overcrowded central pens. Had he decided to keep gate C closed there may also have been loss of life, there is no way of knowing. In retrospect it is easy to declare that he made the wrong choice - made a very costly mistake.

Being a cynic I wonder how much of the blame culture is the result of lawyers looking for profitable law suits. Such cases can go on for years and cost a small fortune.
The Grenfell tower inquiry has cost the taxpayer at least £40m so far, more than 100 times the savings made by swapping fire-retardant cladding on
the council block for cheaper combustible panels that fuelled the fatal fire.

In 2017 there were 334 fire deaths in England (including the 71 at Grenfell). The cynic again - I wonder how much was spent on legal fees for the 263 who died but not in the Grenfell Tower.

The £18.9m cost of representing the 585 bereaved, survivors and residents who have core participant status does not yet match the £63.6m legal costs for representing the families of the 96 people who died at Hillsborough before and during the two-year inquest that ended in 2016.

But with at least another two years to run, lawyers’ bills are set to soar during the second-phase hearings, which will last an estimated 18 months – three times longer than the first phase.

And whatever happened to compassion? We have compassion for those who lost family in these horrific events but what do you feel for David Duckenfield whose life was changed forever, 30 years ago? Or the Fire Chief who had to decide "Stay where you are!" or "Get out as quick as you can!" Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Finally, when the lawsuits are over and the solicitors have added up the bills, families will receive compensation probably years after the event. How much to compensate you for the loss of a loved one?


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