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July 21, 2020

Four Well-Known Personal Injury Cases

Less than 2% of civil cases are decided in a jury trial. However, many high-profile cases with significant monetary recoveries are ultimately decided by juries. Learn about some of the most famous personal injury verdicts that were made possible through the hard work and commitment of dedicated legal teams.

Gloria Estefan v. Heraldo Samuels, et al.

In 1990, Gloria Estefan was traveling in her tour bus when it was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer and smashed into the 18-wheeler ahead of it. At the time, Estefan had been sleeping in a bunk on the bus. The impact threw her from the bunk and onto the floor. She suffered a broken vertebra and had a four-hour spinal operation. Estefan was forced to cancel an upcoming international tour and underwent nearly a year of recovery. Estefan’s husband Emilio bruised his forehead and had cuts on his hand and leg; her son Nayib had a broken collarbone. Aides aboard the bus suffered broken ribs.
Estefan filed suit against the truck driver, his employer, the truck’s owners and their subsidiaries. A trial was scheduled for October 1990, but a $8.5 million settlement was reached in advance for Estefan, her family and the two staff members who were on the tour bus. At the time, this was the largest amount paid in a personal-injury case in the area.

Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Company

Lilly Gray, the driver of a 1972 Ford Pinto, was rear-ended by a Ford Galaxie. The Pinto stalled on a freeway and upon impact, it erupted into flames. Gray suffered severe burns and ultimately died as a result of congestive heart failure. A 13-year-old passenger suffered disfiguring burns requiring skin grafts and extensive surgeries.
Following Gray’s accident, over 100 additional lawsuits were brought against Ford due to rear-end accidents in the Pinto. The courts found that the Pinto did not meet adequate regulations. After the Pinto failed safety tests, “Ford produced and sold the Pinto to the public without doing anything to remedy the effects.” The jury awarded plaintiffs a total of $127.8 million in damages.

Liebeck v. McDonald’s

After purchasing coffee from a McDonald’s drive thru, Stella Liebeck was resting the cup in her lap to add cream and sugar when it spilled, resulting in severe third-degree burns in her pelvic region. She was hospitalized for a period of eight days, during which she received intensive skin grafting. Liebeck’s attorneys argued that the high temperature of McDonald’s coffee, which was hotter than coffee served at most other establishments, rendered it defective. McDonald’s refused several settlement offers before the case went to trial. The jury decided on damages of $160,000 to cover medical expenses and compensatory damages, as well as $2.7 million in punitive damages. The judge reduced the verdict to $640,000.

Harris v. McGraw

Janet Harris was bitten by Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw’s dog, a Korean Jindo, at their Beverly Hills mansion in 2009. Robin offered to take Harris to the hospital, but due to Dr. Phil’s concerns about the press, Harris was prescribed antibiotics privately. The next day, Harris’ arm was swollen and she was diagnosed with pastuerella multocida, an infectious disease commonly caused by animal injuries. Harris developed negative side effects including hearing loss and a hand tremor. She was unable to work and had to close her skincare clinic in Beverly Hills. Harris filed a $7 million lawsuit against Dr. Phil and the case was settled in 2013.

Your Injuries Matter to Us

If you or a loved one was injured due to someone else’s wrong, they can and should be held accountable. At Custy Law Firm, we prepare every case as if it will go to trial. We are committed to discovering the human story behind each case and sharing it with the jury. Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Custy Law Firm to get the justice you deserve.

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