Over the course of my career, I’ve spoken with hundreds (if not thousands) of prospective clients about their potential personal injury claims. Some of those calls resulted in us taking the case while others have been respectfully declined. A handful, however, left me almost speechless and were spectacular enough to make our all-time list of cases we just had to turn down:
Slipping on Ice:
Handling personal injury cases, we have handled numerous “slip and fall” and “trip and fall” cases. Premises liability typically involves a business that either creates an unreasonable risk of harm for their customers or knows of the unreasonable risk of harm and does nothing to correct the problem, resulting in serious injury.
Years ago, a lady called our office seeking representation stemming from a slip and fall incident at a store in Mandeville. She reported falling and injuring her leg when she slipped on ice on the floor of the establishment. For such accidents, the specifics of the incident are very important and I typically ask for more specifics. In this case, I asked the woman if she knew where the ice came from. She sounded a bit confused by my question and answered “of course, the ice fell out of my cup when I was filling it up.” Now, I was the one confused. I had to carefully explain to her that she could not pursue a claim against the establishment for a dangerous condition (the ice) that she had herself created. Yikes!
At Flattmann Law, we don’t come across too many products liability cases. That’s why I was curious when a gentleman called me one day, asking if we would sue an aerosol can manufacturer on his behalf. The man explained that the week prior, the aerosol can exploded in front of him, causing burns on his body. That’s not supposed to happen! Again, I inquired as to the specifics of the incident and his response rendered me speechless.
The man explained that he was done with the aerosol can and proceeded to dispose of it in the trash, just like the label said to do on the can. There was only one problem… the way he regularly disposed of trash was by burning it in his burn barrel. Much to his surprise, when he threw the aerosol can into his trash fire, it exploded! Needless to say, we had to respectfully decline that case.
Digging A Hole For Yourself:
Sometimes the tenant-landlord relationship can be tense. One day I received a call from a tenant who was particularly perturbed at the landlord he had been renting from for several years. He explained that the previous night around 9 PM, he parked his car in its usual place and proceeded to walk across his lawn his front door. Suddenly, he fell into a large hole and broke his leg. He wanted to sue his landlord for the incident, and it didn’t help that their relationship was already stressed due to his non-payment of rent for several months.
I agreed with the man that a large hole in the middle of the lawn is very unsafe, especially while walking in the dark. I asked him if he had any idea how it got there. He said, “sure, I was planning to plant a tree there.” (long pause from me….) Yes, the man had fallen into a hole he dug himself. We didn’t take that case!
Wow, That’s Hot Coffee!:
Everyone has heard of the famous McDonald’s coffee lawsuit out of New Mexico in 1992, but few know the actual facts, including that the 79-year old was burned by near-boiling (190 degree) coffee, that McDonalds had received 700 reports of coffee burns during the decade prior to the incident, and that the victim merely asked McDonalds to pay her medical bills, which they rejected, leading her to file a lawsuit.
Well, this is not going to be that story…. One day I received a phone call from a lady complaining of being burned by hot coffee from a Wendy’s restaurant. She reported that the top had come out, resulting in the coffee spilling on her. The lady had been driving on a cross-country trip, so this resulted in a major inconvenience.
We started getting into the specifics of the incident and I asked her why she thought the top had come off of the coffee cup. She replied that she didn’t know, especially since she thought she had secured the top after adding creamer and sugar. “Wait a minute”, I said. “You mean that you were the one who took the top off the coffee, added creamer and sugar, and put it back on prior to it spilling?” Needless to say, we did not represent that lady in a famous Wendy’s case.
Thank goodness (for humanity’s sake) that 99.9% of the phone calls we receive will not make it onto a list like this. I always say that no two cases are alike, but these phone calls certainly take the prize!
Do You Have A Potential Case That Is Almost Too Incredible To Believe? Don’t Worry, We Have Heard Just About Everything!
Have you been injured in an accident and want a personal injury law firm that will help you every step of the way contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.