The story of a person getting millions of dollars after a hot coffee burn from a McDonald’s restaurant made a lot of people roll their eyes. The real story behind the coffee burn is much more interesting and shows that the victim of the burn injury was reasonable but the fast food company was punished for their greed. It also goes to show that restaurant injuries are real and serious.
Hot Coffee Lawsuit
In 1992, a 79-year-old woman ordered a coffee from a McDonald’s in Albuquerque. Stella Liebeck was driven to the fast food restaurant by her grandson and was sitting in a parked car when the coffee spilled. Liebeck suffered serious 3rd degree burns to her legs and genitals. She was hospitalized for 8 days and required extensive surgery and skin grafting.
Liebeck admitted that the spill was her own fault but the complaint was that the coffee was almost 190 degrees and too hot to be considered safe. Liebeck initially sought a reasonable settlement amount that would cover her medical bills and other expenses, of about $20,000. However, McDonald’s refused to offer more than $800, leading to the lawsuit.
McDonald’s admitted the coffee was dangerous at such high temperatures and there had been hundreds of complaints over the years about customers suffering burns as a result of the too-hot coffee. A jury agreed with Liebeck and initially awarded her almost $2.9 million, eventually settling for closer to $600,000.
Restaurants and Burn Injuries
Unfortunately, restaurant-related burn injuries are common. Customers and employees can all suffer burn injuries in a restaurant setting. Workers who suffer restaurant burn injuries may be protected by workers’ comp claims. Customers may have to file a personal injury lawsuit to get compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In 2015, Tori Spelling filed a lawsuit against the hibachi restaurant Benihana. According to the lawsuit, Spelling suffered deep second and third degree burn injuries requiring hospitalization and surgery after she slipped and fell and burned her arm on the side of a hot grill.
Hibachi restaurants often involve a chef cooking on a hot grill in front of customers. A customer at a hibachi restaurant in Oregon suffered burn injuries to the face when the chef accidentally squirted a flammable liquid on the customer during a fire trick. As a result of the injury, the owner claimed the restaurant will no longer perform fire tricks at the tables.
Italian restaurants may be just as dangerous for diners. Last year, a woman filed a lawsuit against an Italian restaurant in Orland Park after hot marinara sauce shot out of her lasagna, burning her hand. According to the lawsuit, when the customer put the fork to the top of the lasagna, “piping hot marinara sauce shot from the lasagna,” causing a large burn on the victim’s hand.
Burn Injuries and Negligence
When a customer suffers a burn injury as the result of negligence on behalf of a restaurant or restaurant employee, the restaurant may be liable for damages. If you suffered a burn injury in a restaurant in Illinois, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for help to recover damages. Contact the Cullotta Bravo Law Group today at 630-898-7800 to schedule your free consultation.