9 Most Well Known Injury Lawsuits

Personal injury cases allow an injured victim to be compensated for the wrongful conduct of a third party. These types of cases are governed by tort law. They are decided on almost a daily basis. The following  are some of the more famous cases.

The Weatherman Case

This case originated in Israel. As is most common, the weatherman incorrectly predicted the weather. It was supposed to be a beautiful sunny day, but rain materialized. The victim sued arguing that she was inappropriately dressed for the rain and caught the flu. Because of this, she was unable to work. She also had to spend money on medication. Although not a big result, she was awarded $1,000.00

NYC Subway Injury Award

In New York City, a woman contemplating suicide, laid down on the railroad tracks. The train severely injured her. After a lawsuit against the “Big Apple” she was awarded $14.1 million dollars. This result is interesting as under a comparative analysis, she assumed her injuries by laying on the tracks.

McDonalds Hot Coffee Case

Who has not heard of this case? It is one of the best known personal injury cases ever. In 1994. Stella Lieback, purchased a cup of coffee at the McDonald’s drive through. The coffee spilled in her lap causing severe burns to her upper legs and groin. She sued, arguing that the coffee was hotter than the industry average cup of hot coffee. McDonald’s would not settle as it thought it had a winner. She was awarded $200,000 dollars. The court felt that Ms. Liebeck was 20% responsible, which reduced the award to $160,000 dollars. The case continued and eventually, she was awarded $2.7 million dollars.

Defective Doorknobs

A claims examiner in New York City filed a negligence claim against a realty company. He claims that the bathroom in the company building did not have a door knob. As he tried to open the cubicle door another person tried to enter. He severely injured his thumb. He filed a lawsuit, and the jury awarded him $3 million dollars. In addition, under a consortium claim, his wife was awarded $750,000 dollars.

Trapped Burglar

A man who attempted to burglarize a home with a faulty garage door as well as a second door was trapped in a house for eight days. He ate dog food and Pepsi. He sued the homeowner under his homeowner’s insurance for mental distress and was awarded $500,000 dollars.

Bret Michaels v CBS

Michaels sued CBS when he was hurt at the Tony Award Broadcast in 2009. In the lawsuit, he alleges that he was not instructed on how to leave the stage which led to his head getting hit by a set piece. He suffered a broken nose and later a brain hemorrhage. The court awarded him an undisclosed amount of money.

Gloria Estefan Car Accident

In 1990, Gloria Estefan’s tour bus was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer truck that had jack knifed. She suffered a broken back and missed a year of touring and concerts. She had to learn to walk again and was unable to stand for an extended period of time. She sued the trucking company and was awarded $8.95 million dollars in damages. The award was for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Mental Distress from Accident

In 1988, a university student was in two accidents. She did not suffer any serious physical injuries in either accident. She did however suffer serious mental distress. This caused her to develop an eating disorder and anxiety. In her testimony she explained how her life had been changed because of these accidents. She was not awarded any damages. On appeal, she was awarded $790.00 dollars to cover medical expenses and $6,000.00 dollars for pain and suffering.

9/11 Attacks

On September 11, 2001, the twin towers were struck by two jets flown by terrorists. Lawsuits were filed. After a few years many of the victims of the attack had been compensated. Many workers filed additional claims due to the environmental conditions they were subjected to during the rescue and cleanup efforts. They have taken a long time to resolve as they were not filed as a class action.

Workers also filed claims against private contractors and government agencies. These victims claim that not enough was done to prevent them from contracting various illnesses from the toxic exposure at Ground Zero. They looked for compensation for respiratory disease and cancer. The defendants fought these claims arguing that those conditions were not caused by the exposure. New York City claimed sovereign immunity because the attack was a national emergency. It argued that local taxes should not be used for a national disaster.

Eventually a settlement of $712 million dollars was allowed in 2011 for over 95% of the claims. In addition the Zadroga Act provides billions to ensure 911 victims can be monitored and receive medical treatment. This fund excludes cancer until a causal relationship can be established. Finally a 911 Victim Compensation Fund exists for victims who have claims of disabilities  and illness linked to the attacks. Pain and suffering can be awarded under this Fund.

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Dennis P. Sawan

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Chris Sawan


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