A Super-Hero Trashed My Property: a review of your rights by: GF Willmetts

May 29, 2017 | By | Reply More

Super-hero films, like their original comicbook counterparts, don’t address the problem of the aftermath of these super-battles. Generally speaking, these don’t tend to happen in the city suburbs but in the middle of the cities, like the shopping districts not the usual haunts like the warehouse district or by the docks which are less civilian filled. Even so, there tends to be a lot of continual collateral damage that must make some places uninsurable.

In the old days, that would be less of a problem. At least from the super-hero perspective as no one knew who they were and quickly left after defeating the villain. Reality has shifted since then and many of them are now government agents and therefore answerable to those above and who should be paying for damages, assuming these aren’t also covert ir not in the phone-book.

The super-villains invariably were imprisoned and I doubt any assets they had would be hidden so they were had something to fall back on when they…er…escaped. Much of it was also probably stolen so not their own anyway. No wonder many of them committed robberies, though, as they needed to support their own villainous habit. We’ll take their court fees as a given but it would be a little difficult to get away with a not guilty plea when found bound to rights. If they weren’t found guilty of anything else, then criminal damage would be a key stopper. It would be cheaper to be a super-hero under licence and have the government order repairs. When you look at the likes of Marvel’s Avengers who’ve had their fair share of ex-villains in their ranks and DC’s Suicide Squad, albeit they were coerced than keep them in prison.

However, when it comes to property damage, the super-hero could be seen as equally accountable although in a court of law, the defence that the damage could have been worse had they not intervened. If anything, it’s a miracle that no bystander civilians gets killed let alone injured in such unannounced street battles. Make no mistake in that description, super-human battles on the streets of any city leaves devastation.

So who pays for the repairs? As some of these super-humans belong to government agencies, owners and/or their insurance companies should expect the bills. One would presume off the comicbook page or film, said people give reports about their activities and whether things would have been worse had they not intervened. At government level, funds would be kept to pay for such damages. I doubt if even the likes of Tony Stark could afford all the running repairs.

There is also the possibility that the city itself could be sued for neglect but more especially for police or military intervention. Bringing in a tank to stop the likes of the Hulk would cause more damage than a super-human battle. Very few super-humans resort to such weaponry and, oddly, probably cause less damage themselves. Of course, the same might not be said for the super-villains who have no care in that regard.

In some instances, owners might just send their bills to their insurance companies but they, in turn, will also seek compensation from the above agencies. Ensure you take photographs of the activity as well as the damage. Some will undoubtedly want to take advantage of the situation for their own gain. With evidence on your side, insurance or authorities paying up should become a formality to address in order: your insurance company, city council and ultimately government. Liability gets awfully complicated.

Now we are in the age of the Internet and potential to sell on-line, selling bricks and such from this damage could off-set some of this initial expense. After all, the workers are going to throw bricks and such into a skip for disposal anyway, so why not sell some of them that are significant? For the super-hero or super-villain fan, the possibility of owning such examples would be a willing expense, especially with the providence photographs. How much such items would sell for is debatable. Too much on the market, would mean few at high prices. Examples of costume fabric or even damaged weaponry or equipment is likely to much rarer although, presumably, with the latter, the police are far more likely to keep as evidence although you might try to claim later. Don’t try this with Spider-Man’s web as it melts within hours.

Legally, there also has to be a case of intent to damage, just in case you want to sue the involved super-human. Serving such orders are practically impossible for those who wear disguises. Well, unless you can hire another super-being to serve such a writ. As they themselves might also be subject to a writ during their careers, I doubt if there would be many volunteers for such an activity.

Should such action happen on a regular basis and that is likely to happen where the so-called super-heroes live, insurance might not only be impossible to get, the premiums themselves would be exorbitant. Considering that these insurance companies would claim their money back from the government you would have to wonder at this. One might also have to consider whether the repairs would be done better materials that would stand up to damage better or maybe fall apart better so not to damage other property. The latter might not seem so crazy. Less fragments flying around so less personal damage and you might well claim that you are preventing damage from your own building. You might also face the possibility of being sued yourself for not changing to such materials when given the chance.

Finally, there is the consequence of personal injury or death. With the latter, there is still the matter of responsibility. Much of this can usually be attributed to the super-villain of the piece. As some are murderers, they are subject to state laws and whether they include executions. There also lies an extra super-problem. How do you execute a super-human as the standard means are not only likely not to work but might invigorate instead? Permanent incarceration is difficult but attempted. Let’s not even think of those with diplomatic immunity who have a nasty habit of sneaking back into the country.

Of course, in some realities, some are regarded as insane and put back in the asylum so ultimately have no moral responsibility to add to their guilt. Incarceration in whatever format has never been reliable. Some of the inmates even see it as a respite before going on the rampage again.

As this article is about the results of their activities or battles with the so-called super-heroes, what can the cities do for protection? The primary consideration is to remove civilians from the battle zone. As this can happen at often very short notice, evacuation isn’t always possible. It might remove pedestrians but not people in the buildings that face the most damage. As such, it would be a recommendation for secure concrete bunkers in both basements and on various floors. So far, skyscrapers have never fallen so attempting to take elevators to the basement isn’t always possible. Similar bunkers should also be included in park areas and subway areas.

Although it is impossible to keep such battles out of the cities, city councils should do more to either finance their police services to be better able to disable such super-villains. There are more subtle ways to do such things than bludgeoning them. An effective sleeping gas or physical deterrents should certainly be on the list of things to do. Certainly a means to disable electrically-powered equipment. It might disable the likes of mobile phones but it’s a small price to stop such people.

Plans to kill all super-humans alike, no matter what their moral stand is, might be considered…in a police state but creates its own problems. The species is growing and, as we’ve seen with younger generations today, attitudes have changed. Having older super-heroes around tends to create its own moral compass and examples that some will choose to live by. If nothing else, those who take that path will keep the immoral at bay.

If all else fails, one shouldn’t consider paying any blackmail fee to the super-villain but it might be worth considering a stipend to any of the super-heroes who regularly put their life in peril stopping such people if only to reimburse the equipment they use. It might even be cheaper in the long run, knowing they are there to protect the city and the people. The only problem is if they are disguised how do you find them, let alone sign a cheque to them?

If nothing else, ensure you have super-human damage on your insurance policy. You know it makes sense.

© GF Willmetts 2017

Category: Superheroes

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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