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Personal Injury Lawsuits in the Movies and on Television Shows

November 17, 2016 by The Sawaya Law Firm

Movies and television are known for imitating real life. In many cases, what we see in the movies and on TV reflects what people have experienced in their lives. This is true on numerous fronts, including personal injury lawsuits in the movies and on television shows.

If you think back, you’ll probably be able to recall at least one or two movies you have seen or shows that have aired in the past decade or so in which a character’s personal injury lawsuit mirrored a real-life legal situation.

Personal Injury Lawsuits in the Movies and on Television Shows

The following are a few of the movie and TV show personal injury lawsuits that were presented to the public as entertainment, along with some tips on how these situations may apply to you as a Colorado resident in your personal injury accident case. The majority of these either aired or were shown in movie theaters within the past 15 years.

Friday Night Lights (2006-2007)

In its pilot episode, Friday Night Lights not only drew attention to the world of high school football, but it also dove into the potentially serious injury risks associated with the game. The school’s star quarterback, Jason Street, suffered a hard hit that caused a catastrophic spinal cord injury that brought his promising football career to an abrupt end and left him paralyzed from the chest down. As a result of his injury, his parents decided to file a lawsuit against the coach for the coach’s alleged negligence in providing proper training, which might have been able to prevent the injury. When everything was said and done, the school officials agreed to an undisclosed amount which the injured player stated was sufficient to cover all medical debt, as well as his parents’ mortgage. 

This TV show brought to light to the risks many NFL players and youth players face every single day when playing football or other contact sports. When an injury such as this is sustained as a result of another person’s negligence or carelessness, the victim may have the legal right to file a lawsuit seeking compensation.

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Erin Brockovich is one of the most famous environmental law movies in recent years. It tells the real-life story of a single mother who uncovered a case involving groundwater contamination and the resultant cover-up by a California utility.

After the lead character suffers an injury in a car accident due to no fault of her own, she goes to work for the lawyer who handled her case. While working for him, she discovers that numerous people in a nearby town have been diagnosed with cancer, tumors and other medical conditions. Through her in-depth investigation, she is able to connect the dots and track the source of the illnesses to the utility’s actions. While she initially gets one couple to file a compensation claim, the case grows to the point where a massive a class-action lawsuit is filed on behalf of the victims. In the end, the judge ordered hundreds of millions to be paid out to the more than 1,000 plaintiffs.

This movie is a reminder that even when obstacles seem insurmountable, with sound and determined legal representation, success is possible. Even if you are hesitant to go up against a large corporation or insurance company after you have sustained serious injury, a skilled lawyer can help you move your claim forward and allow you to pursue justice.

The Simpsons (1995 Episode)

In this episode, Bart is taken to the hospital after suffering a significant stomachache and damage to his appendix caused by ingested a jagged piece of metal in a bowl of Krusty-O’s breakfast cereal. As a result of his injury, Bart hires an attorney to file a lawsuit against Krusty. When the attorney wins a $100,000 settlement on Bart’s behalf, Bart receives only $500 due to his shady tactics and exorbitant legal fees. This is a comedy show, but does point out the importance of hiring ethical legal representation.

If you sustain an injury as a result of another person’s negligence, you may have the right to file a lawsuit or claim seeking compensation to cover your injury-related expenses. A lawyer’s fees should not be so high that you are unable to recover the financial remuneration you deserve. Colorado residents can rest assure that our fees are fair and just.

The Office (2005-2013)

During the course of The Office’s nine seasons, we saw many potential workers’ compensation claims arise among the show’s characters:

  • Michael accidently ran down Meredith in the employee parking lot when he wasn’t paying attention to where he was going.
  • Andy plunged from the roof of a truck into an empty refrigerator box to show his co-workers he was the “real deal” when it came to hardcore parkour.
  • Michael’s reckless actions resulted in the warehouse forklift running into a storage rack and knocking down several shelves. This caused metal, boxes and paper to cascade down and put other employees at risk.
  • Darryl wants to file a workers’ comp claim after allegedly falling off a ladder and breaking his leg when the ladder fell on him. Later in the episode it is discovered that other employees have been misusing the forklift as an elevator, and Darryl admits he has done the same.

Each of these is an instance where a potential workers’ compensation claim could have been filed for injuries sustained. In most cases, fault does not have an impact on a workers’ comp claim, so long as the worker was involved in a work-related task at the time of his or her injury.

Bee Movie (2007)

In this movie, Barry (the lead bee character) finds that humans are stealing honey by exploiting bees. He makes it his life’s mission to protect the bees by filing a lawsuit against humanity. When he demonstrates to the jury the harsh treatment the bees are being forced to endure so their honey can be taken, the jury sides with him and bans humans from stealing honey in the future.

This movie exposes the real life importance of fair treatment in the workplace. When employers do not take action to make sure their employees are treated well and the work environment is safe, they are putting people’s lives at risk. If you sustained injury in the workplace, you may be eligible to file a workers’ comp claim or seek legal action against the third party responsible for your accident.

A Civil Action (1998)

A Civil Action is based on the true story of an environmental pollution case that took place in Massachusetts in the 1980s. Once it was found that environmental toxins were contaminating the surrounding area’s water supply and had been directly responsible for causing serious injuries and death among a number of residents, a legal action was initiated against those determined to be responsible. A class-action lawsuit was filed, and although the case was dismissed in favor of the defendant, the EPA later forced the companies to clean up the groundwater and nearby land.

When a company’s negligence or outright disregard for the safety of others results in serious injuries or death, that company needs to be held legally and financially liable. With a skilled attorney on your side, you can fight to protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve.

How I Met Your Mother (2008 Episode)

In a 2008 episode of the TV show How I Met Your Mother, one of the leading characters (Ted Mosby) is injured when the cab he is riding in gets hit by a car as it speeds through an intersection. While this incident could have resulted in a TV show personal injury lawsuit, in real life, a car accident victim does have the right to file a claim or lawsuit against a reckless driver. When injuries are sustained, the at-fault driver should be held liable and a personal injury attorney can help you do just that.

Changing Lanes (2002)

The movie Changing Lanes begins with Ben Affleck’s character anxiously trying to make it to court to file a legal document, when he ends up colliding with Samuel L. Jackson’s vehicle and causing an accident. Instead of exchanging information at the scene and proceeding with what should have been a movie personal injury lawsuit, the at-fault driver (Ben Affleck) offers the victim a blank check to simply walk away. The victim refuses, stating he wants to do the right thing and file a claim. Instead, the two engage in an all-out war against each other out of vengeance. In the end, both parties resolve their issues, however no lawsuit or claim is ever filed.

In real life, the victim of this type of accident would simply exchange information with the at-fault party, gather evidence to prove fault and file a lawsuit or claim seeking compensation, with the help of an attorney.

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Although this movie has not yet hit the big screen, Deepwater Horizon is a highly anticipated movie about the negligent events leading up to the worst oil spill in U.S. history. This movie depicts the catastrophic explosion that caused the deaths of 11 oil rig workers. Survivors and the families of those who lost their lives hope the movie will honor those who died and show the true nature of the reckless conduct that resulted in this tragic event.

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