Ever since I was a kid, I was aware of “Accident Injury People”, the kind of people who go looking for the chance to have some kind of accident in order to sue someone to try to get money.
When I was ten years old, there was a disabled obese lady who was legally blind named Ginger, who had a full-time caregiver who lived with her and drove her around town. In the small town in Florida where I grew up, there were trees everywhere, especially overhanging the streets and sidewalks. Some trees dropped acorns, nuts, berries, seeds, fruits, or leaves, throughout the day.
One day, Ginger and her caregiver parked and got out of their vehicle in front of a commercial building that my father owned. Supposedly, Ginger slipped on some berries that had fallen from a palm tree and she fell down, hurting herself. There was a lawsuit, and I don’t know how the insurance company handled this.
The frustration for my mother and father at the time was, throughout this tree covered town, could property owners be held liable for berries, seeds, and acorns that fall from trees minute by minute? Would this have happened to a person who was not disabled, obese, and legally blind? What was Ginger claiming her damages were, she was already legally disabled?
From that point on, I became more and more aware of “Accident Injury People”. Something that sticks out in my mind to this day, was when I was 24 years old and I had parked my bicycle at the corner of a Dairy Queen type business in Florida where I could see it as I placed my order through the walk-up window. A family drove up in a four-door sedan, a husband and wife in their early forties got out of the front seats, and an elderly woman in her mid-sixties got out of the back seat.
The elderly woman appeared to head straight for my bicycle and grab a hold of it. My bicycle wasn’t attached to anything, it didn’t have a kick-stand, it was leaning against a post, and it bobbled and banged into the post as the elderly woman grabbed hold of it.
I looked at the husband and wife, and the husband said to me in a very accusatory manner, “She just had a double knee replacement.” He was acting like I had somehow created a dangerous situation for his elderly mother, and if she had fallen over, it would have been completely my fault. I don’t know if she was trying to grab onto the nearest thing to her, in order to not fall over, or if she had already begun to stumble.
I left without saying anything, I didn’t want any part of any blame for the elderly woman’s condition. I don’t know what my legal liability would have been, as there was no bicycle rack, and my mountain bike was sold without a kick-stand. Was I negligent for leaning my bicycle against a post? In any case, a lawyer would have told these people that there was no point in suing me, I didn’t have any assets. No lawyer would have taken this case for fear of never recovering any money whatsoever, and never being paid.
A few years ago, when I took my landlord’s dog to the Dickinson Dog Park to let it run off-leash inside the fenced-in area, I was concerned to see a very pale, frail, woman in her mid-thirties, with no musculature, sitting on a bench inside the large-size dog, dog run area. She was wearing short shorts, and when my landlord’s dog went up to her to greet her, she didn’t know that he was going to try to step in her lap and kiss her face, she didn’t know to tell him “No, get down” and I had to grab him.
I thought to myself, “What is this woman doing sitting inside of the large-size dog off-leash area at a dog park, this is the least dog-person that I have ever seen. Doesn’t she know that a large dog will try to come up to her and kiss her, doesn’t she know how to tell a dog to get down?”
The second time that I went to the Dickinson Dog Park with my landlord’s dog and let him run loose inside the fenced in area, I was there by myself and I saw a family drive up. I watched the mom and dad who were in their forties get out of the car, then their three kids ages 6, 8, 10, and grandma and grandpa in their seventies. Grandma and grandpa were both unsteady on their feet and walking very slowly.
This entire family, all seven of them, and their small dog, headed for the entrance gate to the large-size dog off-leash area. I said to myself, “You have got to be fucking kidding me, my dog will end up knocking over grandma, grandpa, and those little kids within seconds.” I put the leash back on my dog, and left immediately, never to return, because the Dickinson Dog Park is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
When I got home, I started reading about the legally liability for dogs in places like public dog parks. It turns out that everyone is very mistaken about public dog parks, I sure was. I thought that public dog parks were a safe place to let a dog run off-leash. It turns out that public dog parks are absolutely the worst place in the World to let your dog run off-leash.
I thought that at a public off-leash dog park, everyone entering the off-leash area, knew and understood that the dogs were going to run and play. No, no, no, this is not the case at all! There a many, many people who use public dog parks, who claim that, “They can not get bumped.” Due to a previous injury or existing health condition, spine injury, neck injury, knee replacement, hip replacement, brittle bone disease, they can’t get bumped by a dog.
This is when and where I first learned about what is called the “Eggshell Plaintiff”. How this term came about, and what this means, is that no matter what kind of pre-existing physical problem a plaintiff in a lawsuit might have, bad knees, bad hips, an injured back, if you are found liable in a court of law to have caused the plaintiff to fall over or fall down, you are legally responsible if they break their knees, hips, or back no matter how bad their knees, hips, or back were in the first place.
The reason why I am writing this blog post, is because after learning about the “Eggshell Plaintiff”, I am even more alert and aware as to what people might be trying to do, such as when I wrote a few days ago about the blond woman with “9 Lives” who walked in front of my truck without looking. If I would have hit her, God only knows what kind of pre-existing knee, hip, back, and neck injury my vehicle insurance company would have been paying for.
Now that I think about this recent incident at this gas station, at this same gas station one month ago, while I was putting gas in my vehicle, I watched a disabled man loitering at this gas station in a very peculiar way. His vehicle was parked in the handicapped spot, and he was handicapped, he was having difficulty walking, but he was walking back and forth, around and around in the drive lane beside the gas pumps.
Vehicles that turn off of Villard Street, enter the drive lane beside the gas pumps going about 10-15 mph, and they come on the far side of the gas pumps a little blind at first, being able to see cars at the pumps, but not a person standing there. This is a very dangerous place to walk or stand, but this old man with difficulty walking, who wasn’t getting gas, chose to walk there, around and around, back and forth.
More than ever, I expect people with health problems, a handicap, or a disability to try to find a way to make someone else or an insurance company financially liable for an injury or a disability they already have, or a surgery that they already need.