If there's been anything you've read on the Internet, it's probably that the zombie apocalypse is upon us. There are articles about how to survive it, what foods to eat, and finally a response from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) letting us know that there is no such thing as a zombie apocalypse.
According to Time, much of the hype has been stemmed from the rash of human body eating and mutilation crimes reported in a very short time span. There was the bath-salts face eating, then there was the man that stabbed himself and threw his intestines at police, and of course, the student in Baltimore that ate his roommate's heart and brain. And those were only some of the incidents that started this whole zombie thing.
So what would a zombie apocalypse mean to the personal injury world?
Personal injury lawsuits stem from a few major areas of law, intentional harm, negligent harm, and dangerous products. Intentional harm includes any kind of attack, or threat of attack. Negligence is the failure to uphold a legal duty, or in other words, to act reasonably. Dangerous products are those that malfunction or are by design harmful when used properly.
And what is known about zombies? They are usually described as undead, so they have died and come back from the dead. Zombieism is allegedly most often caused by a virus or bacteria that is passed from zombie to human.
So what kinds of personal injury claims could be brought from a zombie attack?
First, there could be a class action lawsuit against a any pharmaceutical or other company responsible for creating a zombie virus. There would have to be a flaw in the manufacture a drug that would lead to it causing zombieism. This manufacturing flaw would cause the company to be strictly liable for any harm caused.
Next is the issue of any humans who tried to keep their zombie relatives alive. This would lead to an eventual negligence suit if said zombie gets free and injures your neighbor, much like wild animal liability. Of course, there would have to be some court or legislative action to define whether a zombie is a person or not and thus could be sued. (But there is a good chance; if a corporation is a person, a zombie might be one too. Legally that is.)
That court ruling or law would be important, because the zombies would need to be held responsible. One issue would be whether a relative could still have a wrongful death claim against a zombie if they ate your mom's brain. That relative could sue a person if they were controlling the zombie, or directly against the zombie him or herself.
All in all, we should hope that the CDC is right, and there is no zombie apocalypse. If they're wrong, let's hope that the courts don't have zombie judges ruling on zombie lawsuits. Because that would just be messy, legally and in terms of body parts...