The vast majority of cases that personal injury and accident attorneys handle are legitimate and very serious ones that deal with the safety and wellbeing of people who were hurt because of someone else’s negligence.
But like almost every area of the law, it’s susceptible to truly weird and wacky cases that you have to hear to believe. Some of them involve real victims who were injured in bizarre ways while others were dismissed due to being obviously bogus claims.
Though these stories may elicit a chuckle or two, it’s important to remember that most injury cases are no laughing matter. With that in mind though, we can marvel at some of the most unusual cases in legal history.
1. Horror Story
When entering an attraction that includes the word, “horror” it’s fair to say you should expect a touch of fright. But a 57-year-old woman visiting the Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights haunted house still felt she was unreasonably frightened by the experience. Her lawsuit claimed mental anguish and psychological trauma, which are legitimate injuries but may not have been so legitimate in the case of someone choosing to enter a haunted house.
What’s sometimes left out of the reporting of this story is that the woman slipped and fell as she was attempting to run away from a chainsaw-wielding frightener, and instead of inquiring after her wellbeing, he continued the scare tactics. If she had been physically injured and the fall had been caused by some negligence on the part of those responsible for maintaining the safety conditions of the haunted house, then perhaps this case would not have been dismissed.
2. Pastry Problems
It’s always a good time to stop for doughnuts, right? Wrong. A Houston ambulance driver inexplicably decided to stop for a dozen while transporting an injured boy to the hospital. Not surprisingly, the boy’s mother filed a complaint and that led to the driver’s termination.
He turned around and sued the city for intentional infliction of emotional distress when they fired him. But this was thrown out as state law protects municipalities from this type of claim.
3. Weather or Not
Do you curse the TV weather reporter when the actual conditions turn out to be different than his or her forecast? Well, a woman in Israel went one step further – she actually sued a television station for irreparable damage and stress that resulted from an inaccurate forecast that caused her to dress inappropriately. She was caught in the rain unexpectedly in light clothing, which caused her to get sick, miss work and pay for medication. She won her $1000 case and received her rewards.
4. Cold Cuts
One New York man had a very unpleasant dining experience at Subway when he discovered a serrated knife baked his sandwich bread. Fortunately he didn’t bite into it or sustain any cuts from the knife, but he did claim to get sick after eating part of the sandwich that may have been contaminated from the knife. He sued for $1 million but was awarded $20,000.
5. Whale of a Tale
You’d think that having the word “killer” in its name would deter anyone from ever attempting to befriend a killer whale. Not so in the tragic case of a 27-year-old Florida man who went to great lengths to achieve his lifelong dream of swimming with one at Sea World.
The man managed to hide from park security at closing time and then entered the killer whale’s tank once everyone was gone.
Most would say it’s not too big of a surprise that the man was killed by the whale. But his parents thought Sea World was responsible and sued them for the death of their son, claiming that the park should have displayed signs that stated the whale’s killing capacity and should not have sold friendly-looking killer whale stuffed animals in the gift shop. The case never went to trial because the parents dropped the case not long after it was filed.
6. Fool Factor
You pretty much know what you’re getting when you watch shows like NBC’s Fear Factor but an Ohio man in 2005 thought the show went too far when contestants were challenged to eat rats. This gross display caused him to become nauseous, throw up and even run into a doorway as he dizzily tried to make his way out of the room. He decided this suffering was worth $2.5 million and that NBC should pay. It should come as no great shock that the case was thrown out.
7. Case of the Missing Pants
Most would consider it an inconvenience and annoyance if a dry cleaner lost one of their garments. But Roy L. Pearson, Jr., an administrative law judge in D.C., was far more outdone when a dry cleaner lost a pair of his trousers. He sued for $54 million, claiming mental anguish and a failure of the company to live up to the “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign they displayed.
After a multi-year legal battle, the case came to an end in the favor of the owners of the dry cleaning business.
About the Author: John Zaid is a Houston personal injury attorney and the founding member of Zaid Law. His firm handles a wide range of injury and accident cases, including auto accidents, medical malpractice and premises liability. John his passionate for advocating for his clients and sharing his expertise as an avid blogger. Visit Zaid Law to learn more.