How the McDonalds Hot Coffee Case Changed Personal Injury Law

Sometimes the media unfairly brands every personal injury lawyer as an ambulance chaser. The reality is that the work of any personal injury lawyer is much more meaningful. For instance, consider the story of the woman who spilled a cup of McDonald’s coffee in her lap 20 years ago.

Changing the Face of Personal Injury Law

Personal Injury Lawyer in Kansas City

It’s a familiar story. An avalanche of media attention on the evening news and the late shows meant that you didn’t have to be a personal injury lawyer to be vaguely familiar with the case. However, as any personal injury lawyer knows, there is a whole lot more to the story than what can be condensed into a sound bite or a comedian’s joke.

Perhaps you think that Ms. Liebeck, the woman who received the coffee burns, was feeling overly litigious when she hired a personal injury lawyer. That seems to be the prevailing opinion of most of the public. Based on the rather sensational “facts” presented in the media, it does sound like a frivolous case. On the other hand, a personal injury lawyer would say that the public simply isn’t aware of all the facts of the case.

The Truth About the McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case

McDonald’s was in the habit of serving coffee between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit in those days. They’d been warned repeatedly that this was too hot for human consumption. Hundreds of customers had already severely burned themselves, and had agreed to out of court settlements with the restaurant. Despite knowing that their coffee presented a danger, McDonald’s refused to change its practices.

Essentially, McDonald’s neglected to use reasonable care, nor did they choose to provide warnings to their customers. Ms. Liebeck suffered severe burns on 16% of her skin and required two years of medical care before she made a recovery. Without a personal injury lawyer helping Ms. Liebeck, McDonald’s would still be serving their coffee too hot, and more people would be at risk.

Get the Personal Injury Representation You Deserve

Every personal injury lawsuit is about much more than sound bites.The O’Connor Law Firm is ready to help with personal injury law issues. Matthew J. O’Connor has been recognized as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in the U.S and he can help to make sure you’re protected in personal injury suits. Call (816) 842-1111 to set up a consultation.


Recent Posts