Are you for or against mandatory car insurance?

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.


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