There have been cases in which personal injury claims have been utilized in court in an effort to compensate an individual, or group of individuals for injuries they sustained through no fault of their own. The ability to seek out compensatory damages in these situations is best left to attorneys who specialize in this area of practice, known in the legal world as tort law. This area of law provides potential damages for loss of potential earnings, pain and suffering and medical bills.
Three such cases are outlined below:
The McDonald’s Coffee Incident
One of the most famous (and famously misunderstood) lawsuits in American history was the incident in which Mrs. Stella Liebeck suffered third-degree burns. These burns were a result of a coffee spill in which the liquid touching her skin that was believed to be between 180 – and 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Immediately following the incident Mrs. Liebeck went to the hospital where she spent eight days in the hospital undergoing skin grafts. Using the expertise of a Personal Injury Attorney, it was determined the coffee being served by McDonald’s was far too hot (most coffee is served at a temperature of around 140 degrees Fahrenheit), and as a result had suffered burns that she would not have if the coffee were a normal temperature.
As a result she was initially awarded $2.7 million dollars (one day of McDonald’s coffee sales), but this was eventually lowered to around six hundred thousand dollars after negotiating on both sides.
Emotional Distress as a Result of a Car Accident
In the fall of 1988 a University student named Julie Miramon was involved in two car accidents in which the first was very serious, and the second in which she was rear-ended. While she did not suffer any serious physical injuries, she did suffer emotional distress that manifested in anxiety and an eating disorder.
Testimony provided by Ms. Miramon state that she was very anxious about driving and having trouble eating after her initial accident. Medical professionals involved with her care all agreed that the second accident caused all of the problems she was having as a result of the first accident to intensify.
The initial ruling in the case of Miramon v. Bradley was to deny damages based on a lack of physical injury, but this was reversed on appeal to cover medical expenses that amounted to $790.00 and $6000.00 to cover Ms. Miramon’s pain and suffering.
A Shared Fault Car Accident Lawsuit
In the case of Koste vs Chambers, both occupants of a car driven by Mr. George Chambers (the passenger, Rita Madsen) sued the driver of the other car, Mr. David Koste.
This case was referred to arbitration rather than set for trial in an effort to reach a reasonable disposition for everyone concerned. Arbitration ruled that the passenger, Rita Madsen was free of fault in the accident and ordered George Koste to pay her $24,000.00 in damages that were immediately paid in full by Mr. Koste.
Eventually a jury heard Chambers’ claim against Mr. Koste and ruled that both he and Mr. Chambers were liable for the accident, but that Mr. Koste was more at fault than Mr. Chambers. As a result of this Mr. Koste was awarded a financial settlement by the jury.
At this point Mr. Koste sued Mr. Chambers for his share of the award paid to Rita Madsen since he was also at fault for the accident, both parties moved for a summary judgment in which Mr. Chambers was ordered to pay for his fault in the accident.