While no one could ever argue that personal injury claims should not be taken seriously, the fact is that some unscrupulous reporters in the Media like to make out that some folks are just out to make a quick buck, are milking the system, or just plain crazy.
Take Richard Overton; in 1991, the Media had a field day when Overton was reported as having filed a case for $10,000 against Anheuser-Busch, claiming that he had suffered ‘psychological trauma and emotional stress’ on the grounds that in the company’s Bud Light ads – which showed, among other things, bikini-clad women having a beach party – turned out to not actually be true. The truth of the matter is, however, that he attempted to sue the company for false and irresponsible advertising, due to the fact that in the ads, people who were consuming alcohol were then performing acrobatics and other potentially dangerous feats. Overton’s concern was that these ads might adversely influence easily-led young people, who could then injure themselves.
Stella Liebeck’s 1992 personal injury lawsuit against McDonald’s has been touted as being ridiculous – trivial even – due to the fact that she was awarded almost $3m for dropping a cup of coffee over herself. In actual fact, 79 year old Liebeck was sitting in a stationary car, when, as she removed the lid from the coffee in order to add sugar and cream, the cup tipped over, spilling its scalding hot contents over her lap. Liebeck suffered third-degree burns on her inner thighs, which required skin grafts. At that time, McDonald’s had received in excess of 700 complaints about the temperature of its coffee, and despite their employee manual stating that the coffee should be served between 180° and 190° (which takes between three and seven seconds to deliver third-degree burns), the company repeatedly failed to warn its customers about the dangers of hot coffee.
In 1998, once again, the Media published sensationalist stories of how 57 year old Cleanthi Peters was trying to sue Universal Studios because their Haunted House of Horrors attraction scared her. The reality was that she and her 10 year old granddaughter were chased by one of the actors at the attraction, when they slipped over on a patch wet floor by the exit, resulting in Ms Peters sustaining a back injury. Far from being a frivolous case, Cleanthi Peters filed a slip and fall suit.
If you’re in New York City, and want to know whether you have a legitimate personal injury claim, call us today on 212-221-5999 for a free, no-obligation consultation, and our expert personal injury lawyers at Antin, Ehrlich, and Epstein LLP will determine the best course of action for you . Alternatively, you can email us with your query.