A Satirical View of Recent Developments in Tort Law

WDC Journal Edition: Summer 2005
By: Terrence Berres - American Family Mutual Insurance Company

Wis. J. I. (Civil) 1770.5 Imaginary Injury (proposed)
[To be added to Wis J. I. (Civil) 1750 where appropriate.]
Plaintiff claims that (he) (she) suffered an imaginary injury (in addition to the physical injuries (he) (she) sustained) as a result of the (accident) (incident) in question.
If you are satisfied that (plaintiff) suffered an imaginary injury and that the (accident) (incident) was a substantial factor in producing it, you should include in your award a fair and reasonable allowance for the imaginary injury. If you are not satisfied, make no allowance for the imaginary injury and confine your award to fair and reasonable compensation only for other damages (resulting from personal injuries) to (plaintiff) which were caused by the (accident) (injury).
In Bowen v. Lumberman's Mutual Casualty Company, 183 Wis. 2d 627, 517 N.W.2d 432 (1994), the supreme court held that a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress should follow the traditional elements of a negligence claim: negligent conduct, causation, and injury. The court held that severe emotional distress can occur with or without accompanying physical injury or physical manifestations of injury. The committee drafted this instruction to cover the related situation where the plaintiff has severe imaginary distress, there appearing to be no just or logical stopping point between an injury to the emotions and an injury to the imagination.
This instruction can also be used in connection with Wis. Civil J.I. (Civil) 1510.
Achy Breaky Back
Oh I can testify that your insured was high
When he drove my pickup into that train
When we left that honky-tonk I was a healthy guy
But now I'll live my life in pain
It hurts in my arms calling my lawyer on the phone
It hurts for my feet to hit the floor
And it hurts from my lips out to my fingertips
They won't be touching my sweetheart no more
Your client hurt my back, my achy breaky back
Th' adjuster wouldn't understand Your client hurt my back, my achy breaky back
I want your limits in my hand
Have that IME, there's permanency
We'll convince twelve individuals
Tho' in records they'll see my prison injury
I clearly healed with no residuals
Some mediator asks I forgives
And take less money in my hand
Just for that we'll amend and ask for punitives
Your bad faith will make me a wealthy man