Understanding Personal Injury for Your Case
Personal injury lawsuits have a dual goal: to get justice and damages. When hearing about a personal injury case that could have been prevented, it’s only natural to get angry. It’s also heartbreaking and frustrating when the injuries are severe and cause death to innocent people. Personal injury cases cover more than just a faulty product; they also cover environmental issues and small accidents that were that were covered up only to cause more harm. Personal injury lawsuits have a dual goal: to get justice and damages. .
Hiring a personal injury attorney is more than just getting the guilty party to pay for medical bills and lost wages. This specialized attorney sheds light on the issue that caused the injury as well as shows how it affects the victim’s quality of life. There are three famous personal injury cases that I want to point out because of the blatant disregard for people’s safety.
Anderson et at. V. Pacific Gas & Electric – a notable toxic tort case. A toxic tort case is a personal injury lawsuit in which a plaintiff claims that a chemical caused the plaintiff’s injury or disease. In the early 1990s, Erin Brockovich discovered pollutants in the groundwater were making the residents of Hinkley, California, sick and caused early deaths.
Ms. Brockovich took samples and had them analyzed. The results were horrifying; there were dangerous levels of hexavalent chromium (chromium 6) in the groundwater. The culprit was Pacific Gas & Electric (PG & E). PG & E was ordered to clean up and remove the hexavalent chromium, but it was never done. In 1996, the court ordered PG & E to pay $333 million in damages. Also, the trial was turned in the movie, Erin Brockovich.
Stella Liebeck V. McDonald’s – service over safety. In 1994, Ms. Liebeck ordered coffee in a McDonald’s drive-through in New Mexico. The car was in park and when adding cream to the coffee, the plastic lid flipped open and dumped the coffee in her lap. The coffee was hot enough to give Ms. Liebeck 3rd degree burns on her upper legs and groin. Ms. Liebeck sued McDonald’s for $20,000 and discovered McDonald’s kept their coffee at 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
McDonald’s didn’t think there was a case and decided to go to court. During the trial, McDonald’s Quality Control Manager knew of the dangerous temperature of the coffee and the corporation had no plans to turn it down or warn customers, even though there were 700 complaints before Ms. Liebeck’s injury.
Ms. Liebeck spent a week in the hospital and three weeks at home recuperating. A civil jury awarded Ms. Liebeck 2.86 million in damages, which was later reduced to $640,000. McDonald’s still didn’t learn its lesson when another customer suffered burns from spilled hot coffee (same temperature as in Ms. Liebeck’s case) in 1997.
Anderson V. Cryovac, Inc. – burying the truth. In Woburn, Massachusetts, several children were developing leukemia in clusters in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Anne Anderson went out to find out what was going on, as her child, Jimmy, was also diagnosed with leukemia. Cryovac, a division of W. R. Grace, had buried 184 barrels of chemicals near the two wells drilled by the City of Woburn. The chemical seeped in the wells and contaminated the drinking water. When investigated, there were very high levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) and other chemicals in the water wells.
The EPA confirmed that there was widespread contamination northeast of the wells and near W.R. Grace, Beatrice Corporation, and UniFirst Corporation. Cryovac used chemical solvents to clean equipment and dilute paint. The case became known in academic circles and helped shape environmental law. W. R. Grace settled with the plaintiffs for $8 million, but not before 16 children had died.
Craig Altman, Attorney at Law
It’s sad to hear of such horrific outcomes from these personal injury cases. The injuries and deaths could have been prevented. Our legal team is here to help you get your day in court and to get the damages needed to pay your bills and move on with your life. Give us a call at (215) 569-4488 or visit our website to schedule a free case evaluation!