Lawyers handling personal injury cases always explain to their clients if their cases are worth pursuing, and what their cases are really worth. Some clients may be goaded to sue because of what they’ve read about the infamous “McDonald’s coffee” case, particularly the damages collected. However, the truth is far from what ordinary people know about the case.
Here’s the myth: The Claimant Stella Liebeck suffered minor burns on her legs when a McDonald’s coffee cup accidentally fell on her lap. Liebeck sued McDonald’s for failure to adequately label the coffee cup, and was awarded compensation to the tune of $2.7 million dollars.
Unfortunately, the real story behind the case is very different. In reality, a judge reduced Liebeck’s award to $160,000; Liebeck and McDonald’s later settled on an undisclosed amount.
The severity of her burns are also misrepresented. Liebeck suffered third-degree burns to her thigh and groin areas. She spent eight days in the hospital and endured skin grafts and other very painful procedures.
Suffice to say, a coffee cup that causes third degree burns is not just hot—it’s EXTREMELY hot. McDonald’s operations manual stated that their coffee had to be served between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Prior to the case, the Shriners Burn Institute in Cincinnati published warnings that coffee served above 130 degrees was dangerous—McDonald’s knew the risks of serving coffee at those temperatures.
If you are going through a similar circumstance where another party is at fault for your injuries, talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately.