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  • Writer's pictureBart Ridley

The One Question I Like to Ask During Mediation

What would Bud Davis have done?

In the 1980 film, Urban Cowboy, the lead character is Bud Davis.

Spoiler alert on a 40-year-old movie

Bud moves to Texas. Bud gets a job at an oil refinery. Bud marries Sissy. Bud learns to ride a mechanical bull and wins a contest.

The liability issues associated with the operation of a mechanical bull at a popular night club are simply too numerous to concern ourselves with for this post.

However, at one point in the movie, Bud suffers a broken arm after falling off the mechanical bull and being struck by the bull machinery being operated by Wes, an over-zealous nightclub employee that was recently released from prison.

As a result of the injury. Bud’s arm is placed in a cast and he is not able to work at the refinery. When it is time for the cast to be removed, Bud simply uses a hacksaw to remove the cast while sitting on his front porch.

I have long believed this scene can be instructive for parties evaluating injury claims. Bud’s friend asked him why he was not going to the doctor to have the cast removed. He replied, “I ain’t got your kind of money”. Bud cuts the cast off his arm and goes about his business. That does not mean Bud’s arm was never really broken, or that it did not hurt.

Oftentimes during mediation, the argument is made that a claimant must not have been seriously hurt because he did not follow up with his doctor. While such argument has merit in many situations, I would submit that one should also consider, “What would Bud Davis have done?”

Whether you are a party, an attorney or a claims professional, taking a step back and really thinking about the course of a person’s medical treatment from the perspective of “Bud Davis” may help you better understand how a jury would evaluate the claim.


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