Public liability insurance claims are made by members of the public, who feel that they have been wronged by a business or legal entity.
Public liability claimants usually try to receive awarded compensation or an out of court settlement by alleging that they were injured due to a business’ negligence.
Notorious examples of public liability claims include ‘slip and falls’, where claimants argue that they were not made aware of a slipping hazard and so were injured due to negligence.
Businesses do share a liability towards the public, where they can be held responsible for allowing personal injury or damage to occur while on their property. However, the definition of injury or damages can extend to defamation of a person’s reputation, breaches of copyright or invasions of privacy.
This grey area defining harm and responsibility has led to a history of interesting and outlandish compensation claims. Here are six of the most ridiculous public liability claims ever made.
Woman Sues Transport System for Scary Advertisement
In 2014, New York woman Ajanaffy Njewadda brought a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Showtime television network, alleging that a large advertisement of the TV show Dexter was so frightening it caused her to fall and injure herself.
Njewadda claimed the trauma of the event even required visits to a psychiatrist. Her lawsuit states that the defendants “deliberately created or caused a dangerous tripping…condition to exist,” due to the “shocking and menacing” face portrayed by actor Michael C. Hall.
While there is no decision in the case to date, the judge has indicated that he will dismiss the claim.
Man Sues Beer Company for False Ideas
In 1994, Michigan man Richard Overton attempted to sue Budweiser parent company Anheuser-Busch for misleading and deceptive advertising, which he claims led to physical and mental injury, emotional distress and financial loss.
Overton alleges that the brewer’s advertisement of beautiful women and tropical settings implied that these fantasies would become reality if he bought their beer but that instead, drinking their product could lead to addiction and health problems.
Overton sought over $10,000 in damages, but was unsuccessful, with judges ruling that the risks of alcohol beverages were already widely known.
Judge Sues Drycleaners for 67 Million
In 2005, law judge Roy Pearson, sued a Korean dry-cleaning business to the tune of $67 million for failing to ‘guarantee’ his ‘satisfaction’.
The owners of the business had originally misplaced a pair of Pearson’s pants. When they were later located, Pearson refused to accept that they were his original pair.
He went on to allege that the owners had committed fraud, amongst other offences, as their business displayed a sign which read ‘satisfaction guaranteed’.
Inmate Sues Football League for 88 Billion
In 2015, Colorado inmate Terry Hendrix brought a lawsuit of $88 billion against the American NFL due to a disputed umpiring decision during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers.
Hendrix alleges that the decision to reverse a pivotal call changed the outcome of the game, breaching the fiduciary duty of the NFL towards the Cowboys team, spectators and “all people in or/and from the sovereign republic of Texas”.
Woman Sues Postman for Package Placement
In 2015, Florida woman Beverly Sands sued package delivery company FedEx because of an injury she sustained while tripping over a package that was left outside her door.
Sands alleges the box was left negligently outside her home without proper notification of its proximity. The lawsuit also claimed that the injuries would lead to severe loss of earnings for Sands and impair her future earning power.
Police Officer’s Coffee Pops
In 2015, North Carolina police officer Matthew Kaur brought a lawsuit against Starbucks Coffee, after alleged injuries from spilling hot coffee over his groin.
Kaur claimed that the coffee cup’s lid was not properly fixed and that when the hot coffee burned him, it aggravated his Crohn’s disease, leading him to require expensive surgery to remove part of his large intestine.
Public Liability Insurance
While some claims are stranger than others, public liability insurance is an essential protection for any business, especially those that provide a service to the public.
An experienced insurance broker can help you to find the right insurance policy at the most competitive price, to ensure that your business and its assets are safe, no matter what claims are brought against you.