While personal injury cases take place in courtrooms across the country each day, there are some notable examples out there that have helped to shape and define the world of personal injury law. Below are 10 of the most famous personal injury cases in the United States:
1) Dr. Phil’s Dog Bite
Famous television self-help guru Dr. Phil was involved in a personal injury case in 2009 after his unrestrained dog bit a family friend on his property. The case has yet to be settled, but the victim, Janet Harris, claims that she suffered lacerations, puncture wounds and a bacterial infection as a result of the attack. This just goes to show that even celebrities can find themselves involved in personal injury cases.
2) McDonald’s Hot Coffee Incident
Perhaps one of the most famous personal injury cases of all time involved Stella Liebeck and a cup of hot coffee from McDonald’s. Liebeck went through the drive-thru of the restaurant, ordered some coffee, and when she arrived at the pick-up window, the coffee was spilled in her lap. Lieback suffered severe burns to her legs and groin, prompting her to sue the fast food company. While the jury in the case awarded Liebeck almost $700,000, the case was eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.
3) Steve Wynn Wins Big
In 2009, Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis racked up a sizable gambling debt in Steve Wynn’s “Wynn” Las Vegas casino. Afterward, Francis stated that Steve Wynn threatened to kill him over the debt. This promoted Wynn to file a personal injury suit against Francis, leading to a $20 million judgement in Wynn’s favor.
4) Breast Implant Cases
During the 1980s, breast implant technology was just hitting the mainstream. Unfortunately, that technology got a bad reputation due to cases involving implants leaking or even rupturing. As a result, thousands of breast implant patients banded together to sue various doctors, hospitals and other medical staff as well as implant manufacturers. In the end, millions of dollars were paid out as a result of the faulty implant technology.
5) Erin Brockovich Takes a Stand
Although she was portrayed by Julia Roberts on the silver screen, Erin Brockovich is a real woman who took a real stand for injured individuals. While working at a law firm as an assistant, Brockovich discovered that Pacific Gas and Electric was knowingly allowing poisonous chromium to seep into water in her community. Through her crusading efforts, she was able to obtain a $333 million judgement for affected residents as well as tighter reforms on environmental standards.
6) Vioxx Victim
Drug maker Merck found itself facing a personal injury case in 2006 after a woman sued the company for damages sustained by her deceased husband. Her husband had been taking the drug Vioxx for a month before suffering a fatal heart attack. After reviewing data, it was determined that Merck had failed to warn patients of the increased risk for heart attack while taking Vioxx, leading to a $38 million award being given to the widow.
7) Minnesota Bridge Collapse
In 2007, a horrific bridge collapse occurred in Minnesota, injuring and killing dozens. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that there were design flaws in the bridge’s design, leading to victims receiving tens of millions for their losses through personal injury claims.
8) The Hulk’s Son
Terry Bollea, better known as wrestler Hulk Hogan, was involved in a personal injury case after his son caused a vehicle accident that resulted in another driver being permanently injured. The suit claimed that Bollea encouraged his son to drive recklessly and that Bollea did not properly deal with his son’s poor driving habits, even after numerous speeding violations.
9) John Edwards
Although former North Carolina Senator is best known today for his own legal battles, at one point in time, he was responsible for winning the largest compensation award in North Carolina’s history. The case involved a young girl who had her intestines sucked out by a pool drain. Edwards successfully sued the drain’s manufacturer, ultimately receiving a $25 million award for his client.
10) Long Island Railroad
In 1928, a key case in personal injury law played out involving the Long Island Railroad Company. The case involved a woman who was injured after two train guards caused another passenger to drop a package containing fireworks onto the rail line. The resulting explosion from the fireworks caused a scale to fall on the woman, and after suing, the woman won. On appeal, however, the court reversed the decision, stating that the guards had no way of knowing that their actions would have caused the injuries.
As these cases demonstrate, personal injury claims come in many forms and for many reasons. As a result, you should always contact a personal injury attorney if you are questioning whether or not you have a personal injury case of your own. According to www.perecman.com personal injury attorneys can help you to not only get compensation for your injuries, but also the peace of mind you deserve.
Katie Hewatt is a legal researcher and contributing author for www.perecman.com, a New York personal injury firm founded by David Perecman in 1983 and consists of six associate lawyers. Perecman, PLLC specializes in construction accidents, car and truck accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, premises liability, slip and fall accidents, worker’s compensation, and wrongful death. The firm has won over $200 million in settlements and verdicts for their clients.