Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Superhero Personal Injury Law: Part 1

As a life-long comic book reader and 18-year personal injury lawyer in Kansas City, I’ve been loving Marvel Studios’ new television show She-Hulk: Attorney at Law on Disney Plus.

The show is similar to legal procedurals like Law and Order, but with superheroes. I’ve always wondered what it would be like, in the personal injury field, if the events of superhero movies took place in real life.

Would the innocent people hurt or killed in these movies have a right to monetary compensation for their losses? If so, what would the claims be? How would I investigate and work the case up? What would a trial be like?

To satisfy my curiosity, I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts attempting to answer these questions and more. This will be the first one.

Let’s set the scene.

The first thing we need to do is pick a harm-causing event from one of Marvel’s movies. There are plenty to choose from. Each Marvel movie seems to have scenes of destruction where bystanders are injured. It would probably be easier to pick something from one of the solo movies, rather than an Avenger's style team-up. Fewer entities and potentially liable parties will help narrow the focus.

Since I’ve got She-Hulk on the mind, I think I’ll use the final battle in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. There, the Hulk beat Abomination but destroyed half of Harlem in the process. The storyline in the She-Hulk show will help with the analysis because it provides additional information on the events leading up to the battle.

As for location, I’m going to change it to Kansas City, Missouri, because I am most familiar with Missouri’s personal injury laws. Timing-wise, the movie was released in 2008, but the events take place in the second half of 2010. The potential client will be someone injured when Hulk and Abomination come at each other for the first time. The potential client was injured when the Abomination shoved a car into him, smashing him against a building. I’m also going to assume the potential client came within Missouri’s 5-year statute of limitations, pretend like the case has been resolved, and make this an analysis of a past case.

The potential client will be the working-class man making $60,000.00 per year as an HVAC installer. When the Abomination flung the car into him and pinned him against the building, he shattered his pelvis and suffered damage to his internal organs. He had to be taken by ambulance to the emergency room, where he underwent reconstructive surgery. He spent several weeks in the hospital and will be left with a life-long, debilitating injury that prevents him from going back to work. His medical bills were $250,000.00, and he’ll likely need medical care in the future as his body ages and deteriorates quicker than usual due to his injuries. His injuries have also taken away his love of hunting and fishing and made every task like cooking and cleaning difficult if not impossible.

In the next blog in this series, I’ll look into what causes of action our unfortunate bystander might have and against whom.