Five Personal Injury Cases That Made Headlines

A personal injury judge hitting his gavel on the sound block

Ever wonder about the reasons why people file personal injury lawsuits? Something goes wrong in a person’s life, causing severe injury with lasting physical and emotional damage.

Seeking relief for their pain and suffering, victims hire a personal injury lawyer to file a case in personal injury court. Winning a case enables the person to recoup lost income due to incapacitation and provides compensation for suffering. Another aspect of winning personal injury cases benefits society as a whole by enacting new safety standards.

This article shows five famous personal injury cases: celebrities and ordinary people whose lives were altered by damages incurred from an accident. We’ll tell you the result of their personal injury settlements.

Famous Personal Injury Cases 

These brand name corporations lost in court against people who brought personal injury lawsuits. Here are clues to these headline events of what caused the problems. 

  • A major TV station failed to instruct a rock star on what might be overhead.
  • A hot liquid that millions of Americans drink every day from the “Golden Arches.”
  • A cold soda that comes bottled with fizz and pop. 
  • A car named after a small pony had a rear-end problem.
  • A popular TV talk show’s dog bit a guest.

1. Bret Michaels vs. CBS

Let’s start with the rock star who got slam-dunked by moving scenery when exiting the stage. The network TV station, CBS, filmed the entire event causing the video to go viral. The rock star, Bret Michaels of the band Poison, had been singing “Nothin’ But a Good Time” with a broadway musical cast. It didn’t end as a good time for Michaels as he suffered a visible split lip and a broken nose. Several months later, he suffered a brain hemorrhage causing a stroke that almost killed him. Michaels sued CBS and won an undisclosed sum of money for his injuries. 

2. Liebeck vs. McDonald’s Corporation

A woman bought a cup of coffee from McDonald’s for 49 cents in 1992. She had no cup holder in her car and put the hot cup of coffee to hold between her legs. The lid came off, spilling 190-degree coffee on her lap, groin, thighs, and buttocks, causing an 8-day hospital stay. Her burns were severe enough to require skin grafts and two years of medical treatment. The court awarded her $2.7 million in punitive damages. Today that cup of 49-cent coffee would be 99 cents when adjusting for inflation. The $2.7 million would be adjusted to $5.5 million in today’s dollars.

RelatedTampa Products Liability Attorney

3. Escola vs. Coca Cola 

Could you guess what the pop and fizz were about? In 1944, a glass bottle of Coca-Cola exploded in a waitress’ hand. The glass cut so deeply that it severed nerves and tendons in her thumb. The court found Coca-Cola negligent in product packaging and awarded the waitress monetary compensation for her suffering. Additionally, this landmark case in American law helped set standards for future consumer product safety.

4. Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Corporation

Another famous case where the standard of strict liability fell on the manufacturer was the Pinto vehicle made in 1972 by the Ford Motor Corporation. (Ford named this car after a horse called a Pinto). Ford did crash tests on the Pinto, finding it to have gas tanks that would rupture in low-speed rear-end collisions. Ford could have fixed the problem for $10 but neglected to do so. Hundreds of people ended up dying in fiery car crashes. Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits were combined into one case resulting in an award of $127.8 million paid to the victims by Ford. 

5. Harris v. McGraw

Moving on from a pony to a dog, we find that a TV talk show host known as “Dr. Phil” (McGraw) lost to a friend (Janet Harris) who was a guest in his home. When McGraw’s dog bit the friend, Dr. Phil didn’t want any bad press, so he thought he did the right thing by offering his homeowner’s insurance to pay her medical bills. He also bought Harris a trip to Hawaii. Eventually, Harris’ arm swelled up, even after medical treatment, rendering her unable to continue working. Hence, she sued Dr. Phil for $7M, settling the personal injury case out of court with an undisclosed sum. 

Have you recently been involved in a personal injury or automotive accident?

A personal injury lawyer can help bring justice to your case by easing loss, pain, and suffering through a court settlement, especially if you cannot perform your everyday work from permanent injuries. Lessons learned from these five personal injury cases show that it makes all the difference to get the right personal injury attorney on your side. 

Bret Michaels Settles Court Case After 2009 Tony Awards Injury. (2012).

Escola v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Fresno. (2022)

Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co., 174 Cal. Rptr. 348 (Cal. Ct. App. 1981). (2022).

Inflation Calculator. (2022).

“Know the Facts:” Resources for Consumers. (2022).