In Southern California, we regularly see billboards along the freeways advertising seven-figure settlements and verdicts for personal injury victims. But what about the verdicts that reach into the billions? In certain catastrophic cases involving particularly egregious behavior by defendants, juries have carried out justice by making awards to injured victims for not only their costs of medical care, pain and suffering, and lost income but also punitive damages which can indeed reach into the billions. Here are 5 of the largest personal injury verdicts on record:
$150 Billion in Burning Case
In a horrific case of child abuse, an eight-year old boy in Texas was sexually assaulted by a teenager, then doused in gasoline and set on fire. The boy survived with 99% of his body covered in burns, and he later died from skin cancer doctors believed was connected to the fire. A Texas jury awarded the boy’s family $150 billion in a civil wrongful death suit, a symbolic victory given the defendant’s lack of resources.
$145 Billion in Landmark Tobacco Case
In 2000, a Florida jury awarded $144.8 billion to a class of cigarette consumers who had brought personal injury claims against Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, and several other cigarette manufacturers.
$28 Billion for Los Angeles Smoker
Only a few years later, a Los Angeles jury handed down a $28 billion award in favor of Betsy Bullock, a lifelong smoker who had sued R.J. Reynolds after contracting lung cancer. Although the 2002 award was later reduced on appeal, R.J. Reynolds’ stock price tumbled 7% on the news of the jury award.
$4.9 Billion in Auto Defect Case
A Los Angeles jury awarded $4.9 billion to a family who had brought suit against General Motors after six passengers of a van were disfigured when the full tank on a 1979 Chevy Malibu exploded in a crash. The jury award was later reduced to $1.2 billion on appeal in 1999.
$2.2 Billion in Diluted Cancer Drug Case
A Kansas City jury awarded $2.2 billion to a cancer patient after Robert Courtney, a pharmacist, pled guilty to watering down chemotherapy drugs provided to the woman and 400 others in order to increase his profits. The jurors each hugged the plaintiff after awarding the verdict.
Inland Empire Personal Injury Attorneys on Your Side
Every personal injury case is different. If you or a family member has been injured due to the negligent, reckless, or intentional acts of another, then it is imperative that you work with a personal injury you can trust to recover the personal injury damages you are rightfully owed.
At McCune Wright Arevalo, our personal injury team – led by partner Cory Weck, a Marine Corps officer with over 20 years of service to his country and 15 years of experience litigating personal injury cases – has repeatedly won verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients across the Inland Empire who have been harmed because of car accidents, defective products, negligent property owners, and more. We know what you and your family you are going through as face the extremely daunting challenges of dealing with a spinal cord injury, and we will be at your side every step of the way on your road to recovery, doing everything we can to make sure you and your family are properly taken care of in the years to come. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.