According to the United States Courts, there were 346,766 civil cases filed in 2013. That number only varies by two percent from 2012, which allows us to estimate around 350,000 cases filed every year. These are all lawsuits that made it into the court system for one reason or another. Many of these are slip and fall cases or other cases involving real pain and suffering. However, a small percentage of these are bizarre personal injury claims that not everyone is going to agree with.
A personal injury lawsuit is designated to help compensate a victim when they are injured through the negligence of others. In a court of law, negligence can have a broad meaning. The end result of all of these cases is to determine if that negligence caused someone else legitimate pain and suffering that can be compensated with a dollar amount.
When someone slips and falls on an icy sidewalk, that type of pain and suffering is easy to see. But when someone claims a rat was sewn into their clothing, then that is one of those bizarre claims that makes for good reading and an interesting study in how the personal injury legal system works.
A Bizarre Case Of The Rat And The Wardrobe
In August 2016, Cailey Fiesel proudly wore the new dress she purchased from Zara to work for the first time. As she sat at her desk, she noticed a stench that she could not dissipate or get away from. Throughout the day, she would walk around her office building trying to either get away from the stench or find its origins.
As she sat back down at her desk, she felt something against her leg. When she reached down to find out what it was, she wound up shaking hands with the dead rat that was sewn into the hem of her dress. Not only did she have a violent emotional reaction to the event, but she wound up getting a rash that was caused by the rat touching her skin.
By November 2016, Fiesel had a lawsuit filed against Zara claiming, in short, that they sold her a dress that was unfit to be sold. Obviously, Zara needs to improve their product quality control processes, but first, they have to address Fiesel’s mental anguish and physical suffering.
Neither Fiesel or her lawyer have indicated how much they are seeking in compensation, but both have indicated that the mental anguish part of the experience is a significant part of the lawsuit that was filed. Is a rat sewn into a garment enough to create significant mental anguish? The world will find out when this case finally goes to court.
Rare Circumstances That Turned Into Lawsuits
They Do Call It A Killer Whale
Sometimes personal injury lawsuits make bizarre claims that almost have to be accepted as true because of the way they are phrased. A good example is the case of a man who hid in Sea World until it was closed so he could swim with a killer whale. Logic suggests that the name killer whale indicates that humans should avoid them, but the case filed by the victim’s parents indicated otherwise.
The lawsuit claimed that Sea World had no signs posted anywhere in or around the killer whale tank to indicate that the whales were dangerous in any way. The parents also claimed that the stuffed killer whales sold in the gift shop made the animals seem approachable and tame. Sea World referred to the claims as ludicrous, but it is kind of hard to argue with that logic.
The television show Fear Factor found success when it forced contestants to do disgusting things for cash. It did not take long for the show to gain a reputation for being disgusting, which is what makes this 2005 personal injury lawsuit so strange.
A man said he was watching an episode of Fear Factor in 2005 and was repulsed when contestants were forced to eat rats. He said the scene made him dizzy and nauseous. When he got up to vomit, he ran into the frame of the doorway leading to his bathroom and injured himself. He decided that it was the television show’s fault, so he sued the network for $2.5 million.
The case was eventually thrown out, but it brings two interesting questions to light. Are television shows responsible for the unexpected effect they have on their audience? Can a television network be sued for allowing a show to cross a line with its audience? So far, the answer to both questions is no. But it is interesting to note that this case actually made it to a judge before it was thrown out.
Filing Rare Personal Injury Claims
Contrary to popular belief, it is not as easy as many people may think to sue a person or an entity for a personal injury. Even with bizarre claims, a personal injury case has to meet all of the necessary criteria to be heard in court. Each personal injury case must have a negligent party, an identifiable cause of pain and suffering, and a way to quantify that pain and suffering.
While there is nothing wrong with trying to get what you feel is justice in a bizarre personal injury case, your claim will fall apart if you don’t have the key elements in place. Another problem people have when filling a bizarre personal injury claim is asking for an amount that is beyond the realm of reality. When you have injured yourself running to vomit because of a television show, asking for $2.5 million is a sure way to get your case thrown out.
Is My Personal Injury Case Strange?
You can usually find an attorney to represent you for almost any kind of personal injury case. But if you don’t have a negligent party and an identifiable injury, then not even the best lawyer is going to be able to help you. Most people who file bizarre lawsuits do not feel that their claims are out of the ordinary. In some cases, such as the killer whale incident, some good can come from even strange cases. For example, if Sea World did start putting up warning signs about their killer whales, then that act could save lives in the future.
The reality is that bizarre personal injury claims have just as much of a place in the legal system as other lawsuits. Once a strange case is looked at closer, it can be revealed that there is merit to the complaint and some good could come from it. What appears to be common sense for some people may not be so obvious to others. A bizarre personal injury lawsuit could point out where there are lapses in public warnings, and help close those gaps before someone else gets hurt.
In the United States, it is your right to seek compensation if you feel a negligent party has injured you. If you really believe in your case, then there should be no reason why you cannot file a civil lawsuit and seek restitution. Your case may bring out a whole host of victims who have been wronged in the same way but were afraid to come forward for fear of being ridiculed. Regardless of how anyone else may feel about your personal injury lawsuit, it is your right to seek out justice for what has happened to you and make negligent parties pay for their actions.