The superhero business is laden with peril and danger – not just from villains plotting world domination, but also from the occasional citizen filing a lawsuit. The general public should be grateful that super-powered beings avert disaster daily, right? Maybe not.
Mr. Incredible from Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles learned just how unappreciative and furious ordinary citizens can be when he and other “supers” are slapped with lawsuit after lawsuit. Super beings in flashy spandex might be bulletproof or immune to toxic waste, but even they aren’t exempt from professional liability.
Let’s see what happens to Mr. Incredible on his Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and discover why having Professional Liability Insurance would have helped him out.
Professional Liability Example #1: What If I Didn't Ask to Be Saved?
In the opening scenes of The Incredibles, the audience follows the heroics of Mr. Incredible in the glory days of “supers” – extraordinary heroes with superpowers.
After saving a kitten, catching bank robbers, and apprehending a purse snatcher on a rooftop, Mr. Incredible sees a man jump from a building across the street to his imminent demise. His suicide attempt is thwarted when Mr. Incredible leaps off the adjacent roof so he can catch the man, and together, they tumble through an office-building window. The jumper’s life is saved, but he’s anything but grateful.
The man, Oliver Sansweet, sues Mr. Incredible for foiling his suicide attempt. As his lawyer explains, “Mr. Sansweet didn’t ask to be saved. Mr. Sansweet didn’t want to be saved. And the injury received from Mr. Incredible’s actions, ‘so called,’ causes him daily pain.”
Would Mr. Sansweet have a case? His lawyer could argue Mr. Incredible should not have assumed Mr. Sansweet would want to live. Additionally, Mr. Incredible’s rough handling during the rescue could be deemed as negligent while rendering heroic services. Mere mortals like Mr. Sansweet can’t take the same kind of beating a super can. Without Professional Liability Insurance (aka Errors & Omissions Insurance), Mr. Incredible could face head-spinning settlement numbers.
Professional Liability Example #2: Who's Going to Clean Up This Mess?
After Mr. Incredible bursts through the window with Mr. Sansweet in tow, he realizes there is a robbery in progress in that very same office.
The French, mime-like villain Bon Voyage is responsible for the intrusion, but Buddy, a rather insistent fanboy who calls himself, "IncrediBoy," interrupts the standoff. The French fiend attaches a small explosive device to Buddy’s cape, which distracts Mr. Incredible long enough that he can make his escape. Mr. Incredible dispatches the bomb, which detonates and destroys a portion of an elevated train track just as a train filled with passengers rapidly approaches. The hero jumps in front of the train to slow it down before it can plummet to its doom. Crisis averted? Nope.
The passengers on the El train file a lawsuit against Mr. Incredible for their injuries and damages. The city is also left to deal with thousands of dollars in property damage to the El tracks and transportation system.
If real-world rules apply, Mr. Incredible would very likely be found guilty of negligence. He’s arguably a professional hero, and he should have reasonably been able to prevent the undesirable outcome. News reports comment that Mr. Incredible’s court losses cost millions.
Professional Liability Example #3: What Do You Mean He Got Away?
The night wraps up with Mr. Incredible sending Buddy home and conferring with the police about the robbery. Mr. Incredible recommends law enforcement set up a perimeter to see if they can catch Bon Voyage. Astonished, a policeman asks, “You mean he got away?”
The hero blames his would-be sidekick, and then beats a hasty retreat. The cops ask why he can’t stay to help, but Mr. Incredible stresses his tardiness for an appointment (his wedding to Elastigirl, another super) and leaves them to deal with the fallout. Thus concludes a rather busy day of heroic deeds for Mr. Incredible.
By allowing himself to be distracted, Mr. Incredible essentially lets Bon Voyage escape. Ostensibly, Mr. Incredible would be liable for every crime Bon Voyage carries out from then on. His sloppy work and failure to capture a criminal falls short of his standard of care to protect the public.
In short, his legal expenses would be a fortune for the government, which employs the supers. Because the government didn't foresee the supers ever facing legal troubles, it probably didn’t have adequate Professional Liability coverage on hand.
Professional Liability Insurance for Superheroes
In the aftermath of days to follow, Mr. Incredible is hit with Mr. Sansweet’s lawsuit, the El train victims’ lawsuit, and other claims. These cases open the floodgates for dozens of lawsuits against other supers (e.g., headlines like “X-Ray Vision: Peeping Tom?”). A public official insists supers are finished. “It is time for their secret identity to be their only identity.”
Because of the crushing financial burden of lawsuits and public outcry, the government initiates a superhero location program, which grants amnesty to heroes for past actions as long as they never resume hero work. The glory days, as Mr. Incredible knew them, are over.
But perhaps things would have turned out differently if Mr. Incredible or his colleagues had carried Professional Liability Insurance. Their policies could have covered…
- Lawyers' fees.
- Court costs.
- Settlements and judgments.
- Other expenses related to their defense.
Ironically, in his new life as an ordinary citizen, Mr. Incredible works at an insurance company. We can’t vouch for Mr. Incredible's insurance savvy, but we can recommend insureon’s expert agents. Contact an Insureon agent (800-688-1984) to learn how Professional Liability Insurance can save the day when trouble finds your small business.