Stressed out? You can probably sue someone for that

image Recently, a federal jury in Billings, Mont., awarded $1 million to a woman who said she suffered from post-traumatic stress after her Delta Airlines jet made an emergency landing in November of 2011. The case gained attention because it opens the floodgate for other post-traumatic stress lawsuits, which includes anyone who has ever ridden in a taxi in downtown New York.

Though I never suffered anything as severe as post-traumatic stress from my own NYC taxi experience, it was many weeks before I could free my mind from the terrifying image of the driver flipping the bird to other taxi drivers with both hands as he navigated through Madison Avenue traffic using only his knees. Even today, I’m sure that his back seat still has a perfect impression of my hands — in the form of a death grip — which he can use as a nice conversation piece. When you stop and think about it, most of us deal with potential traumatic stress situations on a daily basis without giving much thought to lawsuits.

Just this morning, for example, I filled the gas tank. Continue reading

Are warning labels impeding the natural selection process?

Folding child stroller copyThere was a time when manufacturers included warnings on their products as a way to provide useful information that could potentially save our lives.

Or, at the very least, our eyebrows and/or stomach lining.

However, at some point, that all changed. As far I can tell, it happened about the same time McDonald’s had to cough-up a McMillion dollars to the lady who didn’t realize that spilling hot coffee on yourself while behind the wheel of a car can lead to a condition commonly known as “The Open-Road Lap Dance.”

Taking a deeper look, that condition is really just an extension of the more common rule known as “cause and effect,” which states:

‘Cause I’m dumb enough to place hot coffee next to the most vulnerable spot on my entire body, I am, in effect, going to do something even dumber by spilling it there. Probably before I leave the drive-thru.

Continue reading