Attorneys are often made the brunt of sarcastic jokes taking aim at what many consider our overly litigious justice system. What you don’t hear are the stories from the countless numbers of people who are injured by the faults of other individuals or companies who are able to successfully secure some sort of monetary relief through the efforts of determined person injury firms like Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC.
Here are three personal injury success stories that should inspire you to have faith in our system of justice:
McDonald’s Hot Coffee
In 1992, a 79-woman living in Albuquerque ordered a cup of coffee at a McDonald’s drive-through window. When she accidentally spilled the coffee onto her lap, she suffered painful burns and hired a personal injury lawyer to sue McDonald’s for pain and suffering due to their neglect.
The woman won nearly $3 million in punitive damages and immediately became the poster child of all that is wrong with the American justice system with such an outrageous settlement.
The facts of the case, however, paint a different story.
The woman was a passenger in the car and it was parked when she removed the lid from the cup that was between her knees. The cup tipped over, spilling the coffee into her lap.
The dangerously high temperature of the coffee was mandated by McDonald’s company policy. The woman was wearing sweatpants which soaked up the scalding beverage, keeping it pressing into the skin. She suffered third-degree burns which required a series of skin grafts to her thighs.
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The company had received over 700 injury reports about the hot coffee problem and had done nothing about it. The injured woman offered to settle for $20,000 to cover her medical bills. McDonald’s offered $800. The case went to trial and her personal injury attorney won the $3 million settlement for her.
What didn’t make the news, however, was that later the judgment was reduced by over 80 percent. The two parties then made a confidential settlement.
Ford Motors and the Slowly Deploying Airbags
Ford Motors was sued by the husband of a 48-year old woman who was killed in a low-speed crash involving another car. When the airbag deployed upon impact, the woman suffered a broken neck and was killed her instantly.
When sued for the death, Ford claimed no liability because the airbag had deployed as designed.
The personal injury attorneys for the client filed suit to see the results of the accident information recorded on the “black box”, a computer monitoring device that was attached to the engine of the deceased woman’s car.
When the data revealed that the airbag deployed too slowly to prevent the neck injury, Ford settled out of court for $1.50 million for the family.
Construction Accident – $10,500,000 Settlement
A worker employed on construction was hit by a falling sewer pipe. The pipe had not been properly attached to the hoisting pallet while was being raised by a crane onto a scaffold.
The man was left paralyzed due to the accident. When his personal injury lawyer investigated the accident, he discovered that the employer had violated New York State Labor Law by failing to provide the proper safety devices for the man’s protection.
The attorneys working on the case helped move the injured man from an ordinary emergency hospital to a highly regarded orthopedic hospital to get the medical care he needed.
After a lengthy litigation process filed against the company as a workers’ compensation claim, the defendant agreed to settle the injury case for $10,500,000.