Two very famous and exceptionally wealthy individuals have found themselves at the center of high profile Oregon lawsuits recently. Whether the fact that they’re both rich and famous has anything to do with the size of the damages being sought is a bone of contention, with both plaintiffs denying that the defendants’ wealth has anything to do with their lawsuits.
Oregon Injury Lawsuit Against NFL’s Suh:
Detroit Lions linebacker Ndamukong Suh was responsible for injuries suffered by a female passenger in a December 3, 2011, accident in Portland. Suh was in the middle of a two-game suspension being served for violent conduct at the time of the crash.
The Oregon injury lawsuit has been filed by attorneys representing Saadia Van Winkle, and accuses Suh of, among other things:
- Reckless driving
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
This all stems from the early-morning December 3 crash of Suh’s 1970 Chevrolet Coupe in downtown Portland. Suh’s car hit a curb and a light pole before smashing into a drinking fountain and finally a tree.
Van Winkle was a passenger in the car. She is a friend of a woman who was dating Suh at the time. Van Winkle says she suffered neck and back injuries in the accident, and she also received a bad cut over her eye that required stitches.
Suh reported none of this to the authorities when he called 9-1-1 after the crash, according to the complaint. On the contrary, he told the emergency services that everyone involved in the crash was fine, and he declined medical attention.
Van Winkle told a very different story to that of the NFL linebacker. She said she sought immediate medical attention, even though Suh never even reported to police officers that Van Winkle had been in the car. Van Winkle alleges:
- Suh knew she had been hurt in the accident because she was clearly bleeding from the cut over her eye
- Rather than offer assistance, Van Winkle says Suh screamed at her to get out of the car and told her she wasn’t hurt at all
- The day after the accident, Suh arrived unannounced and uninvited at Van Winkle’s house and gave Van Winkle’s husband a card for her with $700 in cash inside. Van Winkle says she still has the card and the cash and that it was an obvious attempt to buy her silence.
Van Winkle’s attorney says the $1 million damages being sought are not excessive. She said Suh’s actions immediately after the accident were “egregious” and that high-profile athletes shouldn’t think they can get away with such behavior and not be held accountable. Van Winkle is fully expecting a jury to agree with that point of view.
Suh was not actually charged after the accident, and when his lawyers were contacted regarding the upcoming lawsuit, they had no comment to make.
Oregon Injury Lawsuit Against Justin Bieber
If the $1 million in damages being sought in the Suh personal injury case seems a bit steep, it pales when compare to the Everest-esque $9.2 million being claimed by a Wilsonville mother of five. According to Stacey Wilson Betts, the excessive decibel levels she was exposed to at a Justin Bieber concert left her with permanent hearing damage in both ears.
Interestingly enough, Betts is not claiming that it was the music at the 2010 Portland concert which caused the damaging sound levels, but a heart-shaped gondola used to pull Bieber over the heads of the crowd. The actions of Bieber, coupled with the sound-conducting properties of the gondola itself, combined to leave Betts with a variety of noise-related complaints.
Betts’ lawsuit alleges that:
- Bieber climbed into the gondola during the concert and enticed the fans into a “frenzy of screams.”
- The gondola, passing overhead, acted as a sound conductor
- The “sound blast” created by the screaming fans and the conductive properties of the gondola caused decibel levels to exceed safe limits
- Betts also claims she had no reasonable way of anticipating that the gondola would generate a sound blast that would permanently damage both her ears.
Along with Bieber, Betts’ has also named Island Def Jam Records and Vulcan Sports and Entertainment as defendants. Vulcan Sports are the owners of the arena in which the concert took place.
Betts’ lawsuit also maintains she has been seeing ear specialists in an effort to deal with a number of hearing difficulties she has experienced since the concert. She has complained of:
- Hearing loss in both ears
- Severe tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
- Hyperacusis, which is an acute sensitivity to sound
Betts has been receiving disability or workers compensation payments for the past year, and she is now seeking the $9.2 million for pain and suffering, as well as the loss of quality of life. She says “experienced promoters, sound engineers, manager and artists are responsible to maintain safe decibels at all times during their events.”
Not all Oregon injury lawsuits create headlines or seek multiple millions of dollars in damages—far from it. However, reputable personal injury attorneys believe it’s only right that people behaving in a negligent manner should be held accountable for any injuries they might cause to innocent victims.
Oregon people get injured in many different ways—at work, at school, while driving, walking or cycling, or even while sitting at home when a product that should be safe and reliable turns unexpectedly dangerous. What is truly sad is that innocent victims who have been injured through no fault of their own are often left to face a mountain of medical bills and an unsafe future.
If you’ve been hurt because of the irresponsible actions of another, whether deliberate or not, speak to an understanding and experienced Portland personal injury attorney to find out your rights under Oregon law. The consultation is free, and at the very least, you’ll have a better understanding of what avenues of recovery are open to you and your family. Then, if you decide to proceed with a personal injury claim, the attorney will guide you through every step of what could otherwise be a complicated process.