Personal injury cases are the order of the day in the court rooms. Most of the time, these are reasonably straightforward cases. However, there have been some truly notable personal injury cases, and some of these have defined the world of personal injury. Let’s take a look at 10 examples of personal injury cases that really stand out.
1. Dr. Phil’s Dog Bite
Dr. Phil, one of the most famous psychologists in the country, was sued for personal injury in 2009, after his dog, which was unrestrained, bit a friend of the family. The case has not been settled yet, although it is rumored that a settlement agreement has been reached outside of court. Janet Harris, the victim in the case, alleges that she suffered lacerations and puncture wounds as a result of the dog bite, and that these became infected as a result of bacteria.
2. The McDonald’s Hot Coffee Lawsuit
The McDonald’s hot coffee case is perhaps the best known personal injury lawsuit ever to have been filed. Stella Liebeck, the victim in this case, ordered a coffee in the drive-thru of a McDonald’s restaurant. When she picked it up from the next window, the coffee spilled. As a result, she suffered severe burns to her groin and leg and she sued the company. At trial, a jury awarded her $700,000. However, the case then settled outside of court and the amount has not been disclosed. Interestingly, this case has now become a part of popular history with various stories flying around. In one, it is alleged that she was told the coffee was scalding, yet she proceeded to spill it over herself and was still able to sue the company, receiving the revenues of every coffee sold in McDonald’s franchises around the world. This story is obviously not true. It is also not true that it was a McDonald’s publicity stunt that never actually happened.
3. The Francis vs Wynn Case
Joe Francis, creator of Girls Gone Wild, spent a lot of time in the “Wynn” Las Vegas casino, owned by Steve Wynn. Here, he built up a sizable debt. According to Francis, Steve Wynn threatened to kill Francis over the outstanding gambling debt, prompting him to sue the casino owner. Francis was not successful in his personal injury case, however, and was ordered to pay $20 million to Wynn.
4. The Breast Implant Cases
In the 1980s, cosmetic surgeons started to popularize breast implant surgery. However, the implants used were clearly of poor quality and many of them leaked and ruptured. As a result of this, patients around the world started suing over the defective products. There were both class actions and individual actions and the defendants in the cases included the breast plant manufacturers, hospitals, doctors and other medical staff. It is unclear how much was actually paid out, but it is estimated to be in the many millions. Furthermore, some of these cases are still ongoing, as there are still women who had implants in the 80s but who have not (yet) experienced problems.
5. The Erin Brockovich Case
Erin Brokovich is, for many people, most famed for the movie, in which she was portrayed by Julia Roberts. However, the story is actually real and Erin Brokovich is a woman who stood up for injured people. She was an assistant in a legal firm and found out that Pacific Gas and Electric knew that poisonous chromium was seeping into the water supply of her community. She took on a real crusade for the community and was eventually awarded $333 million for the residents that were affected by this. Additionally, she was able to ensure tighter reforms were put in place for environmental standards.
6. The Vioxx Case
Merck, a drug producer, was sued for personal injury in 2006. A woman filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of her husband, who had been taking Vioxx for a month, after which he suffered a fatal heart attack. The data showed that Merck had not warned patients about the higher risk of heart attacks when taking their Vioxx product. As a result, the widow received an award of $38 million to compensate for the death of her husband.
7. Bridge Collapse in Minnesota
In 2007, a bridge collapsed in Minnesota with truly horrific consequences. Dozens of people were killed or injured. It was determined by the National Transportation Safety Board that there had been significant design flaws in the bridge itself. Through personal injury claims, the victims of the disaster were awarded tens of millions of dollars for their losses.
8. The Hulk’s Son
Wrestler Hulk Hogan, born Terry Bollea, is another famous celebrity who became involved in a personal injury case. The Hulk’s son, Nick Bollea, caused a vehicle accident and the other party involved in this suffered permanent injuries. Nick Bollea was charged with reckless driving, but The Hulk himself was not free from lawsuit either. It was alleged that, even though Nick had received numerous speeding violations, his father continued to encourage his son to drive in a reckless manner.
9. The John Edwards Case
John Edwards, former senator for North Carolina, seems to always be in the news for one legal battle or another. One of these battles saw him being awarded the largest ever compensation award in the history of North Carolina. In this case, a young girl was in a swimming pool and got caught on the pool drain. The drain sucked out her intestines. Edwards, representing the girl, successfully sued the manufacturer of the drain and was awarded $25 million in damages.
10. The Long Island Railroad
This is one of the older cases in the history books. The case played in 1928 and involved the Long Island Railroad Company. A women sustained injuries when two train guards allowed a passenger to drop a package on the rail line. The package contained fireworks and exploded. As a result, a scale fell on the woman, who sustained significant injuries. She sued the railroad company successfully. However, the decision was reversed by the higher courts, which stated that the guards could not have known that the actions they were taking would eventually lead to her injuries.
These examples of personal injury cases demonstrate the wide variety of cases that can be heard under these laws. They also demonstrate how important it is to seek excellent legal representation. If you believe you may have a case to be made for personal injury, speaking to an attorney should be your first course of action. Not only will they be able to help you receive any compensation that you deserve by representing you in court, they will also be able to provide you with the peace of mind you need.