Ever hear about the McDonald's Hot Coffee Case? Yeah, so had I. You always think things are so cut and dried as "serious" or "frivolous" until you end up with hot coffee in your lap and burns to your person you would never wish on another living soul.
We know that the language on the cup reads "HOT COFFEE". However, if it's that hot, why do they serve it at the drive-thru window where they KNOW the risk is TRIPLE that spills (and injuries) will happen? I just don't get it.
When we are hurt, someone has to be held responsible. If we hurt ourselves, it's our own fault. However, when we are hurt in an incident which is no fault of our own, the person, business or corporation must be held liable for the damage they have caused in our lives.
In the Hot Coffee case, no one bothered to see that Stella Liebeck's injuries were mortifying and that she was NOT driving the car. She was just trying to put cream and sugar in her coffee. It was McDonald's that made sure that the coffee in that cup was between 180 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission:
"Most adults will suffer third-degree burns if exposed to 150 degree water for two seconds. Burns will also occur with a six-second exposure to 140 degree water or with a thirty second exposure to 130 degree water. Even if the temperature is 120 degrees, a five minute exposure could result in third-degree burns."
Burn lawyers are few and far between. A disfiguring burn radically changes lives. Since the Hot Coffee Case, a special interest group called the National Chamber of Commerce (which is not a government agency) has done their level best to try to make sure that they are not held accountable for their negligence and poor business practices by using their financial clout to push something called "Tort Reform".
A "Tort" is a wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability. So when National Chamber of Commerce worked hard for tort reform, it means that they were trying to re-write when you can and can't take businesses to court; essentially placing a cap on how much they will have to pay when found liable for the injuries they caused. Since they couldn't get Tort Reform passed in the United States Congress as a federal law, the special interest group went to individual states to pass tort reform, hampering your right to a fair trial if you have been the victim of a personal injury.
The most important thing is that when you get burned, don't get burnt again by not knowing all of the angles when it comes to protecting yourself. Make sure to note who, what, when, where, why and how your burn occurred.
Posted at 05:58 pm by Gina_Haase