Search results for the tag, "Friendship"

June 14th, 2009

Negligence and Compensation

A week ago, I sent a letter to the editor of the New York Times. Since it hasn’t been published yet, I’m free to publish it myself.

Ethicist Randy Cohen argues that Natalie, who broke her friend’s hard drive when she tripped over its cable, need not compensate her friend (Magazine, June 2). “To leave the house is to accept some risks,” Cohen concludes.

Yet we never learn whether Natalie was negligent in tripping or whether the friend was negligent in setting up the cable. The answer is crucial, since negligence—as Cohen himself acknowledges in the same column—ought to determine compensation (or lack thereof).

Just as accidents happen, so we need not exonerate carelessness.