In April, the name Sharlene Simon made headlines when she sued the families of the boys she had killed and injured in a 2012 car accident. Simon, from Ontario, Canada, sued for emotional distress, claiming that the three teenage boys she had hit, one of whom died, were “incompetent bicyclists.”
While Simon’s case, in which she has sued for $1.35 million, was met with incredulity from the boys’ families and media outlets everywhere, it shed light on the nature of personal injury lawsuits due to automobile accidents in North America. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that auto accidents make up over half of all personal injury cases every year.
While personal injury lawsuits can cover emotional distress, the plaintiff’s cases also involve seeking damages for medical treatment, loss of income, and property loss in addition to the pain and suffering after the accident.
Oftentimes, the tragedy following traffic accidents can be devastating. Millions of people are injured every year in the 5.5 million accidents that occur in the U.S. annually, and of those numbers, 40,000 will die from the crashes.
Both minor and major injuries sustained after an accident can lead to great monetary awards. Awards can cover legal fees, medical bills, and current or future lost income due to an injury; settlements are made out of court, typically between the attorneys and the insurance companies for over 90% of personal injury cases.
Recently, a plaintiff with undisclosed injuries in Jefferson County, Texas, asked for between $200,000 and $1 million in damages after a rear-end collision due to the defendant’s negligence. Meanwhile, a couple in Vernon, New Jersey, was awarded $19.3 million after the husband suffered spinal injuries after a pickup truck rear-ended his motorcycle.