Infrequently Asked Question, part deux: Are car accidents and tank accidents treated differently in court?

Infrequently Asked Question, part deux: Are car accidents and tank accidents treated differently in court?

No. And that’s the long answer.

Across the country, courts have ruled that motorized beer coolers, parade floats and zambonis are treated exactly the same as their 4-wheeled counterparts. Let’s take a look at a few real-world examples.

Showboating Buffoonery

If you’re injured by someone who was operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there’s a good chance 10/12 jurors will be ready to rule in your favor before the opening statements even begin.

What might it take to convince the other two? Barry Myers has some insight on that question.

One evening in 2013, Mr. Myers invited some friends aboard his boat for a ride. Apparently under the impression that operating a watercraft twice the size and weight of a boring, land-based vehicle doesn’t require uninhibited motor skills, Barry decided to have a few drinks.

Pretty sure this is the real Barry Myers


While cruising at unsafe and unreasonable speeds, Mr. Myers T-Boned a 24-footer that was crossing his path to dock.

Since Barry was driving at night without running lights his vehicle was practically invisible. That’s one more juror down.

Amidst the wreckage, Myers “flunked numerous sobriety tests” and refused to take a breathalyzer. But then again, his boat was named Pour Again! so juror #12 probably got a pretty clear picture of Barry’s commitment to safe driving.

He’s currently facing personal injury lawsuits from three injured parties.

The reality of reality TV

It is possible for you to be the only person involved in an accident, but another party be at fault, such as when Toyota sold half a million Prii with faulty brakes (ostensibly spending more time on automotive nomenclature than on safety mechanisms).

Another likely scenario in this day and age is that your life gets turned into a reality TV show that producers eventually decide is too boring, thrusting you into a carefully staged playground of death.

At least….that’s what happened to Susan Aikens.

As the star of Life Below Zero, Sue’s job was to show people what it takes to survive in the Alaskan Bush. This isn’t your “having Whole Foods deliver your groceries to save you from shuffling through an inch of snow” brand of survival; this is 197 miles north of the Arctic Circle survival.

One day, Ms. Aikens suggested a spot to film a segment. Aaron Mellman, the show’s producer, instead chose a riverside location “for better footage,” and it all went downhill from there:

  1. Mellman forced Sue to drive a snowmobile, instead of the more appropriate ATV, when traversing the half-frozen river.
  2. When she protested for safety reasons, Mellman (whose bio includes personal assistant gigs on music video sets and an affinity for board shorts) screamed that he was the one calling the shots, not her.
  3. He then demanded that Sue conjure up a story about driving full tilt to outrun collapsing ice, and to do so without a helmet for the sake of better footage.
  4. Ms. Aikens crashed, and when Mellman called a rescue airplane, he instructed the pilot to land at the wrong end of the runway so the crew could “film how much pain [Sue] was suffering, and to film [Sue] walking injured.”

Sue is suing Madman Mellman for causing her injuries and suddenly Captain Dim Drunkard doesn’t seem quite as bad.

Burning Snowmobile

(we could’ve grabbed an actual screenshot from the show...but then we’d have to, like, actually watch it)


Star-spangled Shermans

Ahhh America. A country so devoted to capitalistic freedom that it allows its citizens to purchase fleets of fully armed military vehicles and rent them out to sweet old ladies who want to drive tanks and fire belt-fed machine guns.

For our last personal injury lawsuit, we turn to Kasota, Minnesota and its main tourist attraction: Drive-A-Tank. Its “4-Star General” package allows one driver and two passengers to ride in tanks as they roll over cars and plow through houses.

During one such outing, a passenger sitting inside the tank was instructed by an eager-to-please DAT employee to stand up. The passenger -- who we’ll refrain from naming for a reason that will become obvious in the next paragraph -- was knocked off balance and fell (presumably because Grandma Gladys was driving and doesn’t know the first damn thing about scouting terrain from the cockpit OF A SHERMAN TANK).

Old American tank

(note: flag in photo does not represent the injurious object)

In her lawsuit, the passenger claims a sharp metal object inside the tank “speared” her in a body part that sits above the knees, below the navel, and isn’t gender specific. We try to avoid making someone’s injury the butt of a bad joke (unless her name’s Kim Kardashian), but the passenger is ripping DAT a new one for the pain in the ass it caused her.

Drive-A-Tank has requested that the lawsuit be dismissed because the passenger agreed not to sue when she signed the liability waiver. But as we’ve written about before, liability waivers don’t cover gross negligence, such as throwing customers into a 100-year-old bounce house filled with pointy metal objects.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re sitting in a Dodge Neon or a hijacked parade float, the tenets of fault and liability remain the same. To get the legal restitution you deserve, call Buckingham, LaGrandeur & Williams today, or hop on your zamboni and drive on over!