Famous public liability injury claim cases

Date: Feb 20, 2014

No matter how careful you are, accidents can and do happen. Sometimes, when they happen in a public or private space, you may be entitled to make a public liability injury claim and receive compensation.

For example, if you slip on liquid that has been spilled in a supermarket and can prove your accident was a result of the store's negligence, you could submit a supermarket injury claim. Hiring an experienced compensation lawyer is your best chance of having a successful outcome.

If you are thinking about making a claim, you're not alone. There have been several high-profile public liability cases over the years. The following are just a few.

Erin Brockovich

This case, made world-famous by the biographical film starring Julia Roberts, saw a class action brought against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 1996. Brockovich discovered the business's water cooling towers in Hinkley, California, were contaminating the town's drinking water with hexavalent chromium. This compound, when inhaled or ingested by humans, is carcinogenic. As a result of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company's negligence, many residents in Hinkley became ill. 

These residents, with the help of Brockovich and the law firm Masry and Vititoe, sued the business – and won. Their success resulted in one of the largest settlements in US history. A total of US $333 million was paid by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company as injury compensation.

Jessica Wishart

This 22-year-old woman decided to sue McDonald's in April 2013 after she was scalded by a cup of coffee she purchased at one of the franchise's restaurants. The incident occurred in Adelaide, and brings to mind another public liability case that occurred in the US around two decades earlier.

In 1994, an older woman – Stella Liebeck – revealed she had suffered third-degree burns after she accidentally spilled a cup of coffee from a McDonald's restaurant on her lap. Ms Liebeck's compensation lawyers argued the cup of coffee she bought was "defective" as it was much too hot and likely to cause injury. They won the day, and Ms Liebeck received US $2.8 million, reports news.com.au.

Ms Wishart suffered almost the same fate last year, spilling her cup of coffee on her legs while in her car and receiving second-degree burns as a result. Whether or not she will get compensation is still up in the air.

If you need to make a public liability injury claim, get in touch with Gerard Malouf Partner's compensation lawyers today.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.