Florida man claims mental distress and physical injuries have cost him more than $50,000
A man used a restroom in a Florida Dunkin’ when a toilet “exploded,” causing him unspecified physical injuries and mental distress. Here’s why he’s now filed a lawsuit.
We all take risks every day.
We don’t usually think that a risk could involve using the toilet.
But one Dunkin’ customer claims to have been injured doing just that. Flagler County, Florida, resident Paul Kerouac has filed a lawsuit for more than $100,000 for “severe and long-term injuries” he alleges experiencing when a toilet in the bathroom of the doughnut shop in Winter Park exploded.
Kerouac claims the explosion left him covered in human feces, urine and other debris. He said that when he asked for help from an employee, the employee said management was aware of a “problem” with the toilet and there had been previous messy incidents.
What’s the basis for the exploding toilet lawsuit?
The complaint, filed in Orange County, alleges that the plaintiff requires mental health care and counseling as a direct result of the trauma he experienced in the Dunkin’ bathroom and from continuing trauma after the event.
The complaint alleges:
- The defendant (Dunkin’) has a duty to the plaintiff to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition.
- There should have been a warning to a user of any hazardous condition.
- The defendant breached its duty of care to the plaintiff by failing to maintain the bathroom and toilet in good condition and by failing to inspect the area to ensure that it did not create a dangerous condition for users. In addition, the defendant failed to warn the plaintiff about the toilet being unreasonably dangerous.
- Plaintiff’s injuries included bodily injury and “psychological damages resulting in pain and suffering, disability, permanent and significant emotional injury, mental anguish, loss of the capacity for the enjoyment of life, expense of medical care and treatment. The injuries and damages are either permanent or continuing in nature and Plaintiff will suffer losses in the future.”
- The plaintiff claims that the injuries cost him more than $50,000.
Will the plaintiff win?
At the time of this writing, we don’t know. The case needs to work its way through the court system, which could take months or even years. If he can prove each allegation above, then he has a chance of recovering damages. If it goes to trial, it will likely require expert testimony by doctors and mental health professionals who will describe how his physical and mental health were affected by the incident.
In any personal injury lawsuit, the purpose is to make the plaintiff financially whole. In other words, the plaintiff is entitled to be restored to the financial condition they would be in if the accident hadn’t happened. You can’t sue someone because you’re annoyed or inconvenienced. The plaintiff would have to prove that he suffered actual physical injury or mental distress that cost him money for treatment or other expenses (lost wages, etc.).
Being angry that it happened is not enough—he might have been dirty and grossed out by an exploding toilet, but that’s likely not going to win a lawsuit unless there were other actual injuries and damages.
If you were injured in a public place like a store or restaurant in a way that cost you damages, you can seek advice of a personal injury lawyer.