When you receive a settlement for a personal injury claim, the amount awarded is usually dependent on the pain and trauma incurred by the victim. Sometimes the biggest personal injury cases can lead to enormous cash settlements, although the circumstances underriding these awards are as rare as they are. Here are a few of the biggest historical cases that led to gigantic payouts–in some cases for an individual.
- When an 8-year-old boy was sexually abused and then set ablaze using gasoline, he miraculously survived. His body was 99 percent covered with burns. Later, he passed away after a bout with skin cancer that was attributed to those injuries. When his family sued the perpetrator, they were awarded a groundbreaking $150 billion. Of course, the defendant couldn’t pay, but the award made a symbolic point that people will never forget.
- Cigarette consumers were awarded almost $145 billion after they banded together with a personal injury lawsuit to tackle a number of cigarette manufacturers. These included Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, among others.
- R.J. Reynolds was also the target of Betsy Bullock, who sued him after she came down with lung cancer. She was granted a whopping $28 billion which was later slashed after a lengthy appeals process. Bullock won despite her lifelong habit.
- GM was forced to pay a family of six who were badly hurt in a car accident when they were struck by a drunk driver. The collision exposed a defect which caused their fuel tank to explode, which landed them a subsequent $4.9 billion settlement. Superior Court Judge Ernest George Williams cut that amount to $1.2 billion on appeal.
- When Mark Force was out driving, he was struck by another car head-on. This exposed a seat-belt defect which allowed him to be ejected from the vehicle. Force was granted a $32.5 million verdict, blaming Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp for the accident.
- It’s no wonder why people hate public transportation so much! A city transit bus hit Gloria Aguilar in 2005, and in 2009 she was awarded $27.5 million for her injuries, which included an amputated leg.