Pathways to Justice: There is ample evidence that the legal system does not Provide appropriate ways for citizens to correct at least some of the legal errors they face.
An Australian study, reported by Jeffrey Fitzgerald, conducted a telephone survey in which family members were asked to report the injury, loss, or damage issues within a three-year period. The goal was to explore a variety of “middle ground” complaints, rather than a whole lot of problems.
Respondents were asked about personal injuries and other traumatic damages where there was a risk of $1000 or more, consumer complaints of $1000, discrimination claims, property disputes, landlord complaints, lawsuits against the government, post-divorce disputes, etc.
The number of complaints filed varies from category to category – 24% of households reported complaints of road accidents, accidents at work, and other damages. 16% reported landlord and tenant problems. 77% make claims against alleged wrongdoers; 56% of claims were entirely or partially disputed.
Fitzgerald’s study shows that the chances of success in making a claim largely depend on the type of injury or loss. Ninety-six percent of the claimants of violence received their full share of the claim. In contrast, only 65% of consumers received total or partial satisfaction, while only 55% in property disputes and only 38% of those who complained of discrimination.
The high recovery rate in tart cases is not surprising. There are well-understood procedures for making claims against insurers in the event of road traffic accidents, and lawyers often do not need to be involved even if they have been paid by the insurer for some time. There is a dispute over the amount to be paid. Drivers often belong to associations that can help them with such claims.
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People who are injured at work have similarly set up procedures for filing lawsuits against employers under workers’ compensation schemes and often have access to union help if needed. These consulting firms may also play a role in investigating cases that are substandard so that the person does not reach the stage of making a claim.
In other types of grievances where the pathways to a successful solution are almost never well marked, nor is advice and assistance readily available, the number of successful claims is likely to be very low.
There are established procedures for filing lawsuits against the government, and an administrative appeals tribunal has been set up to hear appeals against administrative decisions. Required. In some jurisdictions, there are consulting firms in the industrial audience to help injured employees.