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Personal Injury Lawsuits Get a Bad Reputation Due to Misunderstandings and Misinformation

Posted on in Personal Injury

Rockford personal injury attorneyPerhaps more so than any other legal action, personal injury lawsuits are shrouded in misunderstanding. People hear television commercials about getting compensation for an injury and incorrectly assume that personal injury lawsuits are designed to “cheat” the system and make an easy buck. The purpose of personal injury lawsuits is to compensate a person for injuries sustained due to another party’s negligence.

If you are ever hurt by a drunk driver, defective product, unsafe environment, dog bite, incompetent medical professional, or another act of negligence, you may be out thousands of dollars. Medical bills and ongoing physical therapy can easily bankrupt a person, and insurance companies are notorious for only covering a minimum of costs. Missed work can result in even more financial hardship. Injury suits provide an avenue for injured people to recover some of these costs as well as be compensated for pain and suffering. Read on to learn about how personal injury cases are often misunderstood and how you can pursue compensation for your injuries.

Falsehoods Regarding McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case Damaged Public Perception of Personal Injury Suits

Back in 1992, a 79-year-old woman bought coffee at the McDonald’s drive-thru and spilled it on her lap. She sued McDonald’s and was awarded millions. If this story sounds familiar, it is because the McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit unfairly became the poster child of frivolous lawsuits in the 1990s. However, the real story of this lawsuit was nearly completely unknown to the public thanks to biases and irresponsible journalism. The liquid which the elderly woman spilled was not simply “hot coffee,” It was coffee heated to the outrageously high temperature of 190 degrees – a temperature hot enough to cause third-degree burns in three to seven seconds. When the woman spilled her coffee, it soaked into her pants and continued burning her. She suffered third degree burns on her legs and genitals which were so horrific, she went into shock. The woman’s burns were so severe, she required multiple skin grafts and extensive medical care. 

Fast-Food Company Knowingly Endangered Customers

The woman, now burdened by extensive medical bills in addition to her extremely painful injuries, sought a modest $20,000 for her out-of-pocket medical expenses. McDonald’s highest offer at this point was a mere $800. Even worse, McDonald’s was fully aware that their coffee was causing serious burns. Over 700 other reports of injuries caused by the outrageously hot coffee had already been filed against the fast-food company. McDonald’s admitted that they knew about the risk of significant burns from their coffee for over ten years. This willful exposure of their customers to such an extreme risk was the main reason McDonald’s was also eventually required to pay punitive damages in addition to her medical expenses and other damages awarded to the woman.

Speak with an Experienced Winnebago County Personal Injury Lawyer

It is not frivolous to hold negligent parties responsible when their actions or inaction causes another person harm. If you or someone you love has suffered a personal injury at the hands of a negligent third party, it is important to hold the responsible party accountable. Contact the highly qualified Rockford personal injury attorneys at Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS, by calling 815-215-7561. Free consultations are available.

 

Sources:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/12/16/13971482/mcdonalds-coffee-lawsuit-stella-liebeck

https://www.rd.com/culture/hot-coffee-lawsuit/

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