Injury is common in all societies. Americans are perceived as quick to respond to injury by turning to the legal system. This article compares compensation seeking by Americans and Canadians, examining the degree to which cultural factors shape the response of injured parties in the two countries and the extent to which resources and experiences influence individual action. Drawing on two large-scale telephone surveys, one conducted in five federal judicial districts around the United States and one conducted in the Canadian province of Ontario, the article looks at the factors that influence claiming and seeking legal assistance. The overall patterns indicate that residents of Ontario are somewhat less likely to claim but more likely to seek legal assistance than are residents of the United States. Moreover, while cultural variations (e.g., religion, type of residence) are good predictors of claiming in Ontario, these factors have little influence on claiming in the United States. As for seeking legal assistance, few predictors are found to influence behavior in the United States while a variety of factors (community size, type of problem, stakes, gender, and education) influence behavior in Ontario.
Neil Vidmar et al., The Aftermath of Injury: Cultural Factors in Compensation Seeking in Canada and the United States, 25 Law & Society Review 499-543 (1991)