The following is a true scenario that actually happened: A little boy was drowning in the family swimming pool. Emergency medical technicians were called and came to the home. The floor was wet from the water on the child’s body and from those that brought him to the house. It was too late for the child; though he lived, he lived in a vegetative state and had to be fed through a feeding tube. He cannot communicate in any way. A policewoman called to the scene slipped on the floor and injured her knee. She sued the parents of the child for personal injuries. Why do you think a lawyer would take this case, and why would the policewoman file the suit? Does the policewoman have a case? Justify your answer.
We cannot, of course, know for sure what the motivations of the police officer and the lawyer are. Different people might have different reasons for acting as they did. However, we can speculate.
One would imagine that the lawyer is mostly driven by the desire to make money. Like everyone else, lawyers have to do something to make a living. In their case, it often means filing law suits. This is just a fact of life. For the police officer, it is possible that she does not really like her job and would like to get a nice financial settlement that would allow her to retire. Alternatively, we can imagine that her injuries were severe enough that she could not continue to work and wants some compensation over and above her disability pay.
My view is that this lawsuit has little or no chance of success. There are two reasons for this. First, torts are usually successful if the defendant has failed to exercise a reasonable amount of caution. If they have acted neglectfully and thereby caused an injury, they are liable. It is highly unlikely that a jury would think it was reasonable to ask the family to clean up the water in the middle of an emergency. Second, there are some jobs that are inherently dangerous. People who enter those occupations know, or should know, of the risks. Police officers must surely realize that they will often be entering dangerous situations and should not really be able to claim that they should be compensated for their injuries in such situations.
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