This post is aimed at our readers from the U.S.
You are in a drive-through lane first thing in the morning, purchasing hot coffee from your local coffee house. For some reason, you decide to put the coffee cup between your legs, thinking that what you are wearing will protect you.
Instead, the cup breaks, scalding you with hot coffee. You sue the business.
Right now, people might laugh and wonder if this is a hidden-camera TV show and ask if this is a practical joke. The answer is no. That really happened to McDonald’s (Liebeck v. McDonald’s) when a jury awarded $160,000 to Stella Liebeck in the mid-1990s after she spilled coffee and suffered third-degree burns.
If you are a future lawyer still in law school, you might snicker when your professor offers up a wild case study. That couldn’t possibly happen, could it?
No matter what the situation, it can and likely has. That is why it pays to study the strange but wild cases in addition to the ones that routinely pop up on a daily basis.
If you are in a car accident and live in a state where lawsuits are an option, no doubt you would want to retain counsel. This is true no matter what type of vehicle hits you. Motorcycle accidents, 18 Wheeler Crashes or pickup trucks are treated just like any accident from a property damage and personal injury standpoint.
Car-accident cases are a dime a dozen. There are some strange lawsuits out there, however.
According to the blog Help Me Sue, a Texas woman was awarded $80,000 after she tripped over a child that was running through a furniture store. The child was her son, but the woman sued the furniture store.
That same blog cited a Pennsylvania woman who slipped on a wet floor and fractured her tailbone. She was awarded over $113,000. Never mind that the woman threw a soft drink at her boyfriend during an argument. Never cry over spilled milk, but sue over spilled soda?
USA TODAY cited lawsuits airlines have heard, like a woman whose suitcase emitted a buzzing sound. Of course, the bag was searched, and inside was a buzzing vibrator. She sued, understandably embarrassed, but lost the case.
The point is lawyers have literally heard everything. The comedian that says ‘Stop me if you’ve heard this’ wouldn’t get the joke past a trial lawyer. Never mind the lawsuits may be frivolous or stupid or just plain outlandish. They do exist.
When you are in a classroom where a professor brings up an example of one of these lawsuits, don’t fall asleep in the lecture or pooh-pooh the case. Take notes. You may be confronted with one of these cases in your lifetime, and you will know how to prepare for it.