Then, the article expatiates upon the dangers from the use of old and broken down cars, and represents (by accompanying illustrations and otherwise) that compulsory insurance tends to drive such cars from the highways. It is true that the cost of compulsory insurance does tend to exclude from the highways, old, used, cheap cars (whether broken down or not), since the owners of such cars are apt to be too poor to afford insurance, and thereby does tend to reduce the number of financially irresponsible motor vehicle owners. Find affordable general car insurance rates.
But it is begging the question to assume that it also reduces dangers or is the best way to exclude defective cars. Old cars, so excluded, though shabby, may be light, low- powered, in good running order and safe, and, consequently, far less dangerous than new, heavy and high-powered cars when out of order. Massachusetts experience does not indicate that the effect of compulsory insurance in the way of excluding old cars tends to reduce accidents. The best way to deal with the danger from defective cars is through public inspection. The public money that would have-to be spent to compel insurance might do far more for the prevention of dangers if expended for inspections and policing.
Several estimates by members of the legal profession are cited to the effect that compulsory compensation insurance, assuring substantial relief to all victims of automobile accidents, regardless of fault, would cost only about $10 or $29 per car per year. Find cheap general auto insurance coverage. Such estimates, so presented, are calculated to make this project attractive to owners of motor vehicles in large cities, whose liability insurance is now costing them from $100 to $300 per year. But there are several “niggers in the wood-pile.”
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The eminent jurists above referred to are in active practice, so active that it is a manifest impossibility for them to have given as much time and attention to the study of their subject as the foregoing statement implies. Compare cheap general auto insurance quotes online.
Moreover, their experience, although wide, has been in such lines that they were (and are) altogether unfamiliar with the practical operation of the workmen’s compensation law. Accordingly, when the project of compulsory compensation insurance was presented to them, persuasively, they did not stop to study it themselves but recommended it as a subject for investigation by a legislative commission.
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It is asserted that under the Massachusetts law the insurance company may increase an automobile driver’s premium rate for bad experience, thereby implying that compulsory insurance under such a law exerts an influence for accident prevention. The truth is squarely to the contrary. In Massachusetts it is the “owner,” not the “driver,” who must be insured. Find cheap general car insurance in MA now.
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It is asserted that about 53 per cent of the victims of automobile accidents are wage earners. But nothing is said of the fact that now wage earners injured in automobile accidents in the course of their employments are not restricted to seeking damages under the public liability law but are insured relief under the workmen’s compensation laws. Find cheap general auto insurance rates now.
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It ignores the facts that both our trial practice and procedure and our liability law are archaic and that there are precedents for improvements in both which would relieve the courts and alleviate the hardships complained of without compulsory insurance. It ignores the fact that the congestion of our courts with automobile accident cases is due principally to “ambulance chasing,” which abuse compulsory insurance would tend to aggravate rather than to cure.
It ignores the fact that the Massachusetts compulsory liability insurance (which it extols) is increasing, not reducing, the volume of automobile litigation and, consequently, the congestion of the courts. And it ignores the fact that while compulsory compensation insurance might be enacted in a form that would relieve the existing courts, yet it might not (there being many conceivable forms of such insurance, some of which would have little or no such effect), whereas, on the other hand, it would surely create an enormously larger volume of novel litigation, in novel tribunals, for the harassment of the public.
Against our existing public liability law, which governs the right to recover damages for injuries in automobile accidents, it is charged: “You must prove the other fellow a veritable careless villain and yourself spotlessly blameless before you can collect a cent.” In so far as this assertion is true, it calls for amendment of the existing public liability law, rather than for compulsory automobile insurance. But, to a high degree, it is sensationally inaccurate. In order that the victim of an. automobile accident may recover damages, it is by no means necessary for him to prove that the “other fellow” was “a veritable careless villain.”
It is sufficient to prove that the accident was due solely to the fault, however slight, of the other fellow or his motor car. In a large proportion of cases of recovery the fault proved is so exceedingly slight as to be common to even the most careful drivers. And cases are not infrequent where judgments are recovered for faults that are purely imaginary.
That article follows the methods of old- fashioned patent medicine advertising. It paints conditions under existing laws and insurance practices in lurid colors, and then contrasts them with ideal conditions, which the reader is misled by statements and conclusions, probably presented in utmost good faith but which are essentially fictions and half-truths, to assume would result, as if by magic, from the adoption of compulsory insurance. Find cheap general car insurance coverage online.
Such presentations of the case for compulsory insurance have a wide appeal, since they suit the popular craving for novelty and sensations. To present the other side thus popularly is impossible, because contradiction entails a descent from the pleasing realms of fancy to the dry plane of facts and figures. But, since the field should not be abandoned to fictions altogether, the following analysis of some of the salient features in the article above cited is submitted for the benefit of those who seek to distinguish the real from the fanciful.
The article starts with an emotional description of the delays of our courts in disposing of automobile litigations and of the hardships of our law relative to liability for automobile accidents. That description is distorted and misleading because of what it ignores.
The purchaser of the $12 car—or even of the $500 car (bought at $10 a week)—-has learned no especial sense of obligation to the public at large. He doesn’t want insurance; he will resent paying for it. Having paid, isn’t he likely to feel, however unconsciously, that he is entitled to his money’s worth?
Isn’t the thought, “I should worry, I’m insured! ” likely to make him a little readier to take a chance? While his driving habits are being formed, isn’t the subtle thought that someone else will pay for his fun likely to have just the opposite effect from that engendered by the Connecticut law that he himself must help to pay?
Precisely that is the fear of many students of the problem. The demoralizing effect of fire and theft insurance on weak minds is notorious. Almost no one is as careful of insured cars, houses, jewels, as of uninsured property. And human nature does not change merely with the subject of insurance.
The primary use of insurance is to distribute unavoidable losses—lightning, conflagration, etc. In proportion as the loss becomes avoidable, insurance weakens the moral fiber. If a citizen who was overfond of his bootlegger’s wares were to seek a policy “protecting” him from the penalties of wife-beating, we can guess what the answer would be. Yet the difference between that and “protecting” a motorist when he is at fault is not a wide one.
Further it is certain that compulsory insurance would result in a far higher ratio of claims and lawsuits to accidents than is the case under present conditions. Find general auto insurance quotes online.
It is a well-known fact that the “ambulance chasers” are most active in bringing claims against those who are insured. False and fraudulent claims would spring up like mushrooms, and malingering after trifling injuries would take on the nature of a science. Rightful claimants, who otherwise would be satisfied with reasonable damages, would then, knowing liability to be assured up to certain limits, expect the limit and settle for 110 less without suit.
For obvious reasons, suits by wives against husbands and husbands against wives, by children against parents, parents against children, guests against their hosts, etc., would then be the rule rather than as now the exception. And juries, unquestionably, would give larger verdicts and decide doubtful questions of fact more generally in favor of claimants when they should know that the amount of their verdict would have to be met by a “wealthy” insurance company (which has collected premiums in advance for that very purpose), instead of by the defendant personally. Every lawyer knows that it is harder to get any verdict against a farmer or other person of modest means, from a jury of his neighbors, than it is to secure an exaggerated verdict against a distant- corporation.
The ‘total payroll’ shall include all salaries, commissions, wages, compensation, or the cash equivalent of other considerations allowed to chauffeurs and other operators of automobiles for regular time, overtime, and piece work, and shall also include one-third of the amount charged by the assured for renting automobiles to others if the automobiles are rented without drivers.
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