As personal injury lawyer, it’s my job to help people as best as we can do to help our clients. But sometimes, we see claims from our colleagues in the personal injury space that although creative in their approach, are just plain bizarre. Some of these lawsuits rank up there with Kramer from Seinfeld’s lawsuit filed against the coffee manufacturer for negligently serving coffee that was “too hot”. Although that episode was based on a real personal injury case (Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants), in which the plaintiff was awarded a $2.7 million settlement, it does not even rank in our top ten most bizarre personal injury cases of all time.
People just do the darndest things sometimes; it always amazes me the new and bizarre ways they get themselves into trouble. And although as personal injury attorneys we are always on the lookout for any possible way in which to help people to recoup cost of damages, some personal injury claims are just plain bizarre.
Although you may find this list below bizarre or even humorous, make no mistake, when it comes to personal injury, its no laughing matter. But we sometimes hear about other personal injury cases that make us stop and wonder.
Each one of these is in fact, a real personal injury case – with some even involving serious injury – which we are not bringing to light. As you’ll see, remarkably some of them ended in an award or judgment, whereas others were dismissed in court because perhaps they were in fact just too bizarre.
10. The Killer Whale Caper
In 1999, a 27 year old man from Florida had a lifelong dream to swim with a killer whale. But instead of going the traditional route, he hatched a clever plot to hide from security guards at Sea World so he could stay in the park until after closing. Not long after the coast was clear, he dove into the tank containing a killer whale, finally fulfilling his lifelong dream. Unfortunately, he was killed by the whale. His parents then sued Sea World due to the fact that there were no public warnings that the killer whales could in fact, kill people. They also claimed because stuffed toys of the whales were sold in the gift shop, Sea World was wrongfully portraying the whale as friendly.
9. I’ll Have a 5 Dollar Foot Long With a Knife Please
A New York man is suing the restaurant shop Subway because he found a 7 inch plastic knife baked into the bread of his sub. Although the knife did no severe physical damage to him, it did cut him slightly and although he was shocked at finding it, he didn’t swallow it either. He is suing Subway for damages due to the fact that he was ill with stomach issues for three hours after the incident. In his $1,000,000 lawsuit, he is claiming that he contracted food poisoning from the knife which he claims was filthy.
8. Oops That Was My Real Gun!
A California police officer tased a suspect riding in the back of her patrol car after he became violent and uncontrollable. The officer drew what she thought to be her Taser and fired the device at the suspect. But unfortunately the officer had accidentally drawn her gun instead, shooting him in the chest and killing him. Arguing that any officer could mistake the handle of the Taser for a pistol, the city is now suing the Taser company. Although this is not a personal injury case in the classic sense, the city is suing for the full cost of the wrongful death lawsuit which the suspect’s family filed on his behalf.
7. You Can Sue The Weatherman…
Even the weatherman gets sued sometimes. In Israel, a woman sued a television station for making an inaccurate weather prediction. The station’s weatherman had predicted good weather on that day, but unfortunately, he was wrong. It rained instead. The Israeli woman claimed that due to the inaccurate weather prediction, the weatherman caused her to dress too lightly which resulted in personal injury. Because of the wrong weather prediction, she caught the flu, missed a week of work and had to spend money on medicine to treat her symptoms. She also claimed that the entire incident caused her irreparable damage and stress. Surprisingly, she sued the station for $1,000 – and won the case.
6. Doughnuts Are Always More Important
An ambulance driver in Houston, while transporting a youth to the hospital for minor injuries stopped at a local doughnut shop to grab a dozen doughnuts. The mother of the child subsequently filed a complaint with the ambulance company. The ambulance driver took matters into his own hands and sued the city of Houston for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
5. House of Horrors
In 1998, a woman tried to sue Universal Studios in Florida after visiting their Haunted House of Horrors. She attempted to make a personal injury claim on the basis of “psychological trauma” following her visit. The court dismissed the claim, stating that a visitation to a house of horrors (where the whole idea is to scare the visitors) is not a viable personal injury claim.
4. Thong Induced Injuries
Victoria’s Secret isn’t even immune to personal injury lawsuits. A traffic officer in Los Angeles sued Victoria’s Secret for damage sustained to her eye. The officer claims that the damage to her eye was caused when she was trying on her new thong underwear. The subsequent unfortunate tight fit caused one of the metal clasps to fly off at a high rate of speed, striking her in the eye and causing irreversible damage. She subsequently sought unspecified thong-induced damages.
3. The Exploding Hopper
In 2007, a woman from Olney, Philadelphia sued the landlords of her building when a toilet she was using “exploded” due to excess water pressure. Her lawyer claimed that that plaintiff was “thrown from the bathroom stall causing severe and permanent injuries”. She also claimed to have thoracic and lumbar spine sprains and sciatica problems from the exploding toilet. The lawsuit is still pending to this day.
2. Trains Can Be Sued Too
A New York City woman attempted to commit suicide by laying on the subway tracks until a passing train could run her over. The train did come but injured her instead of killing her. She subsequently sued the city of New York for her injuries. Surprisingly, she was awarded $14.1 million in personal injury damages by the state Supreme Court.
1. Fear Factor
In 2005, a man sued NBC for a figure of $2.5 million following the airing of the hit show “Fear Factor”. He claimed that when he watched contestants on the show eat rats in competition for a $50,000 prize, while running away from the TV, he got nauseous and dizzy and ran into a doorway, causing him to sustain head injuries. He did not win his case, but the courts did ask him why he didn’t either look away or at least turn the television off.
Kevin Landry is a Rhode Island and Massachusetts personal injury lawyer and avid blogger. Kevin has been practicing personal injury law for over 20 years and handles personal injury cases of all kinds including those involving car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice from his 18 offices located throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. For more information on Kevin Landry visit his website at http://www.klandrylaw.com