RE: Fw: Why do we put so many warnings in our manuals?

Subject: RE: Fw: Why do we put so many warnings in our manuals?
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2002 10:41:42 +0100

Bob wrote:
> ...Victims or their families are forced to
> sue anybody and everybody who has any connection with the accident, no
> matter how remote, to find the money.

Keith wrote:
>FORCED to sue?!??!?

I've often wondered if the "forced to sue" culture in the US doesn't have as
much to do with the lack of a comprehensive free-at-point-of-service health
service as anything else.

I have a friend who tripped running for a train, fell, and smashed her
mouth - I use the word advisedly: she lost one tooth completely. She tripped
because she was running, but also because the platform was damaged and had
not been repaired nor warning signs put up. Because dentistry is not
completely on the NHS, getting her mouth "repaired" cost her close to a
thousand pounds. She sued British Rail (this was back in the days of British
Rail) and got damages that paid for almost all of her dentistry. If it had
been available on the NHS, I'm not sure she'd have bothered - though she
might, given that the cause was partially their carelessness: my mother sued
a building company once not because of the money (she gave that away) but
because their disregard of standard safety procedures had caused her to be
seriously injured and could have killed her. But she had the NHS: her stay
in hospital cost her and her family nothing but the taxes we'd have paid

I was in a record shop a few years ago at my lunch hour, wandering around
looking at CDs and stuff, and bumped into one of the shelves. The edge was
sharp as a knife, and a few minutes later as I looked down I discovered it
had cut my leg open and I was bleeding fairly extensively. The staff of the
shop (I overheard one of them telling another "I TOLD you we should have put
the shelfguards up!" or something) rallied round, found me a chair, brought
out the staff first-aid box, nipped over to Boots to buy a larger bandaid -
the cut was a couple of inches long - and could not, in fact, have been
nicer or more helpful about what was a fairly minor injury, caused, yes, by
my own clumsiness - but also by their failure to take a basic safety
precaution. Blood stopped, band-aid on, end result a faint scar that has
faded away almost entirely by now. I met my manager on the way back to work,
and explained what had happened - it had delayed me slightly so I was a few
minutes late, and they were stringent timekeepers at that job - and she told
me "You could sue!" but honestly, what would have been the point? They *did*
put the shelfguards up (long strips of rubber that fitted over the sharp
edge of the shelves) - I went in and checked the next day. They were all
perfectly nice to me. I wasn't significantly hurt. My ankles are not
national works of art. (I wish...)

Technical writing tie-in? I'd say this was wider than that. If the staff of
the record shop had yelled at me for walking into the shelf in the first
place and bleeding all over the floor, and I'd had to go buy my own Band
Aids, maybe I WOULD have sued. When you make a mistake that causes damage,
admit it, fix it, and apologise.

Hmmm... and if the staff in the record shop had had a clear instruction
"When you put the shelves up, ALWAYS put up the shelfguards, too!"

Jane Carnall
"They are prisoners of their own dreams and illusions, as we were 30 years
ago. If the issue is between our and their illusions, we will never resolve
the conflict."
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone. Apologies
for the long additional sig: it is added automatically and outwith my


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