Thursday, February 21, 2013

Outrageous Personal Injury Claims?

Personal injury cases often garner press coverage that focuses on the absurdity of the justice system, from the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit to the seemingly bizarre tale of a suicidal person suing the subway for not stopping the train. There is always another side to the story.

Read on.

Quite an uproar about abuse of the tort system was excited some time back by a personal injury lawsuit on the part of a man who was struck by a subway train after he deliberately lay down on the tracks.


Not when you know that the train barreled into the station at full speed even though the operator had been informed of the situation in time to bring the train to a halt without danger to his passengers or to the man on the tracks. The operator had a duty to conduct himself with reasonable care. That duty was not diminished or eliminated by the fact that

If you have been involved in a personal injury, it's important to examine the whole case. the plaintiff had put himself on the tracks on purpose. The operator had ample time to bring the train safely to a halt. He did nothing to avoid contact with the man on the tracks. Result? Liability.

Consider the issue from the opposite direction.

A visitor to a hospital who slipped and fell on a wet spot in its cafeteria erroneously assumed that the hospital was liable just because it owned the building.

Not so.

Unless the hospital created the hazard, the liability case against it would entail a failure to act reasonably to remedy the hazard in the face of actual or "constructive" knowledge of it: If in the exercise of ordinary care a reasonable person would have known of the hazard, the lack of actual knowledge will not operate as a defense.

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