How often are you in the company of strangers and listen to or watch them intensely as they muddle through erroneous rituals or words. Yes, believe it or not, there have been situations when I wish I could have turned the clock back, but nothing that remotely compares to some of the things that happen around us.
Recently, a fellow was leaving a garage, attached to a house he had just robbed. Imagine the shock when he realized the garage door opener malfunctioned and he was trapped. To make things worse, the door to the house had locked when he exited. The home owners were on vacation and the poor thief spent eight days drinking Pepsi and eating dog food. After he was finally set free, he sued the homeowner claiming undue mental anguish. Get ready for it… the jury awarded him $500,000 for his suffering.
Another man was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after the neighbour’s puppy bit him on the butt. The kicker is, the dog was on a chain, in its own, fenced backyard. Unfortunately for the victim, he did not get as much as he had asked for, because he had provoked the dog by climbing over a fence and shooting it with a pellet gun.
A restaurant was ordered to pay a patron $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. Why was the soft drink on the floor? The woman had tossed it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
A woman sued a nightclub, because she knocked out two teeth, falling from the bathroom window. Why was she in the bathroom window? She was trying to enter the restaurant without paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,500 plus, you guessed it, the cost of dental expenses.
And lastly, and I remember hearing this one on the news: a lady in Oklahoma purchased a new, 32 foot Winnebago motor home. The very first trip she took landed her on the freeway, where she engaged her cruise control at a safe 110 km per hour. After a few minutes she got up, went into the back and made herself a sandwich. Guess what? The motor home veered off the road, over turned and came to a crashing halt. Luckily, the lady was unscathed, but she sued Winnebago for failing to explain in the owner’s manual, that one should not leave the driver’s seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her nearly 2 million dollars, plus a new motor home. Yes, they immediately changed their manuals.
These are actual occurrences from the files of insurance firms, and although they are quite comical (for all but the people involved), they do make you wonder why our insurance rates continue to escalate.
Jonathan van Bilsen is an award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Follow his adventures, at photosNtravel.com.