What are a persons rights after suffering second degree personal injury burns? 31 Answers as of July 08, 2013

My 9 year old son received 2nd degree burns from a cup of coffee being spilled at a local fast food restaurant (not McD's). What are our rights as far as medical bills, lost wages for his father and I, and pain and suffering for my child?

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David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
You didn't say how the accident happened, and this is important. You can recover damages if someone was negligent. If it was a result of a customer's negligence, you could sue the customer. If the an employee of the restaurant was negligent, you could bring a claim against the restaurant. You can recover medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 8/4/2011
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
You may sue on your child's behalf. Your "damages" include medical bills, prescriptions, your lost wages, permanent injury, scarring, pain and suffering, etc. Burn cases such as these always involve some degree of "comparative fault". That means that if a jury were to decide that you are 50% at fault and the defendant is 50% at fault, then the defendant only has to pay for half of your "damages." Still, in burn cases, recovering even 50% can be a huge relief due to the large medical bills. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact my office.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/4/2011
David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
need to know more how it happened, who spilled, when and extent of injury
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/4/2011
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
Retain and consult with a plaintiff's accident and/or a personal injury attorney who should inform you of your son's and your rights tocompletely recovery for your child's injuries.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 8/3/2011
Wilson & Hajek, LLC
Wilson & Hajek, LLC | Eddie W. Wilson
You have a right to sue but must prove negligence on the part of the restaurant or its employees. The coffee being hot may not be enough.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 8/3/2011
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
    Burn injury cases in Virginia are governed by negligence law standards. In this case, I need more facts to determine if there is any negligence on the part of the restaurant and if there is any defense such as contributory negligence. Unfortunately, all hot coffee cases suffer unfairly from the reputation of the California McDonald's case. Specifically, I need to know how the coffee came to be spilled on your child and the extent of the injuries. If there is negligence, then a recovery can be had for the child's bills and pain and suffering. There may be some limited recovery for the parent's expenses but such a recovery would depend on the medical evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    You have rights to sue if the burns are the responsibility of the franchise. If you can show negligence on part of the business owner. I would need more facts before I could provide a better assessment.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Allen Murphy Law
    Allen Murphy Law | W. Riley Allen
    You need to consult with a lawyer in person; these are not questions that can be answered over email. You have far too many issues. You may or may not have a claim against the restaurant depending on the specific facts, which you have not shared. Your child may be entitled to pain and suffering and payment of bills; you may or may not be entitled to lost wages. You have too many issues that need attention and any lawyer who would try to give you definitive answers here would be an idiot.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    If someone was negligent in causing the spill then that person is responsible for all losses closely related to the spill such as medical bills, medical supplies and conscious pain and suffering.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
    Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
    Hire a personal injury attorney. depending on injuries, there will be a case
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    you have a right to claim all of that; you should contact an attorney in your area to start the process
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    In order to receive compensation for a personal injury, another person must have caused that injury due to their negligence. Depending upon the circumstances of how the coffee was spilled, you may or may not be entitled to damages. One of the issues in the famous McDonald's case was that the coffee was so incredibly hot, that more than a normal amount of expected injury occurred when the coffee was spilled. Even though the spill itself was the woman's own fault, the coffee itself was so hot that the fault of McDonalds was in serving coffee that hot without further warning or precautions. In your case, second degree burns might be expected if one spills hot coffee on oneself. Unless the act of spilling the coffee were somehow the fault of the server, you may not be entitled to compensation at all.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Oliver Law Office
    Oliver Law Office | Jami Oliver
    It depends upon the actual temperature of the coffee and whether it then becomes a "dangerous product" under current Ohio law. If it can be proven, a claim can be stated for the medical bills incurred by the parents, any lost wages sustained by the parents, and pain and suffering for the minor. In Ohio, however, any minor settlement or verdict must be approved by the Probate Court and is set aside until the minor reaches the age of majority. Money can be allocated, however, for parents and for bills.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
    Personal injury claims like this are dependent on whether or not someone was negligent. If you can show that someone was at fault for your son's injuries then your son would be entitled to damages for pain and suffering, medical bills and other out of pocket expenses. If your son was partially to blame then his compensation would go down accordingly. For instance, if the award was for $100 and the restaurant was 90% at fault and your son was 10% at fault then your son would only receive $90. However, in Oregon, if your son was over half at fault then he would receive nothing. Consequently, these cases are also dependent on the facts. Who spilled the coffee? Why would the restaurant be liable? What did they do that was negligent and what did they know prior to the incident? In the McDonalds case the plaintiff was able to show that McDonalds was warned prior to the incident about their coffee being way too hot and they failed to lower the temperature.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    A person is entitled to be compensated for their actual damages, their medical expenses and their pain and suffering to whatever degree a jury determines they should be. That I know is not the answer that you were looking for or expected, but it is true. Unfortunately, there is no actual list, like a menu, of what a person it to receive in any particular instance. If there was, no one would need an attorney. They could just look up what they were entitled to and get a check from the insurer who would look at the same list. It is up to your attorney to amply and adequately document your child's losses from medical bills, the pain and suffering that he went through, the pain and suffering that you as his parents went through, the losses that you all suffered from time lost from work. Then it is up to your attorney to be able to communicate that information clearly enough and eloquently enough to an insurance adjuster, with enough certainty and belief in the case for the adjuster to know that he or she is better off settling because it is obvious that this attorney will do well at trial if the adjuster doesn't settle. Sometimes, even if the attorney is absolutely the best he or she can be at all of this, an adjuster will not offer enough and the case will have to go to trial. This is why you need to select a good attorney who you can trust to do the best job for you and or your child. If you think I might be the attorney for you, then call me and lets discuss it because it sounds to me like your child was horribly harmed and the fast food restaurant should be held accountable first and foremost to you and your son, but also to make sure that what happened to your son and to you as his parents does not happen to anyone else.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    If a jury blamed you more for spilling the coffee than the restaurant for overheating the coffee, than your child would recover nothing.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C.
    A. Daniel Woska & Associates, P.C. | Dan Woska
    If your son was burned because of the temperature of a liquid prepared by a restaurant that was served to him and he then spilled it on himself, ask yourself what your thoughts are reminded about the McDonald's hot coffee case. Today, in Oklahoma, you should bring or present the claim against the restaurant for your son's medical bills and expenses related medical care. The restaurant or it's insurer is likely to summarily deny the claim. Once that happens your only real recourse is to hire a good lawyer and sue within two years of the date of the burn. Beware because Oklahoma is a hotbed of juror hostility to any claims brought that cost a business money. If you sue there is not likely to be a single juror sensitive to the situation meaning they will be ready to rule for the defense in opening statements. You may also have difficulty finding an attorney as so many recoveries are now limited or unavailable. "Direct threats require decisive action.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
    You may have a case, based upon the information that you have supplied. We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation if you call my office at either of the numbers listed below. If my office accepts your case, there is no fee charged unless we are able to obtain a settlement for you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Olson Althauser Samuelson & Rayan, LLP
    Olson Althauser Samuelson & Rayan, LLP | Todd S. Rayan
    There may be damages recoverable if there was negligence on the part of the person who spilled the coffee. If there is negligence then damages are recoverable for pain and suffering, medical bills and potentially for lost wages as well. What is really required is an assessment of the facts and circumstances surrounding the event and the nature of the injuries. Most attorneys will provide a free or reduced fee consultation to determine whether the claims are viable.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    If you can show that the burns were caused by negligence, you may have a case. The best thing you could do at this point would be to call an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Fears & Nachawati
    Fears & Nachawati | Majed Nachawati
    A person may be entitled to recover past medical expenses, future medical expenses and costs of treatment, past and future out of pocket costs, past and future pain and suffering and mental anguish, past and future physical impairment, past and future lost wages. Question 2: Depending on the liability facts, your child may be able to recover the items listed above, excluding lost wages, although as parents, you may be able to recover lost wages in the past and future incurred due to doctor's visits, etc. My firm took a similar case to trial last year and recovered $455,000.00, although this is no guarantee of future results.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    As you might imagine, these sorts of cases can be challenging because of the common misperception that the McDonald's case was an example of juries gone wild. What most people don't know is that McDonald's had hundreds of similar prior incidents before that lawsuit where people were terribly burned. It was so bad that there were actually doctors at the Cleveland Clinic who had begged McDonald's to reduce the scalding temperature of their coffee before the 80 year old plaintiff who became famous, suffered her 3rd degree burns when she spilled coffee on her lap. McDonald's, of course, kept the coffee at a scalding temperature for profit - they could squeeze more $$ out of fewer beans by brewing at very hot temperatures, and multiplied times the number of stores all over the world, that was a lot of savings. The jury awarded only a couple of days of McDonald's profit, but somehow the public thinks the whole thing was outrageous. What was outrageous is that McDonald's let hundreds of people suffer terrible burns due to profit motive, and a jury finally put a stop to it. But that rant aside, you may have a case if the fast food restaurant had similar notice that its coffee was dangerously hot. There is no reason at all that any fast food chain needs to brew coffee at a temperature where it scalds people. If you can prove that the store was negligent (e.g., there is some history of prior burns, the store should have known the temperature was dangerous, etc), then you can seek recovery for medical expenses, physical pain/suffering, and possibly lost wages. You should talk to me or another lawyer about your case. Most of us offer free initial consultation where we can discuss the case without obligation to you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/20/2012
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    The only person who can recover is your child. Your lost wages do not come into the equation. It depends also who spilled the coffee, how hot it actually was and a number of other factors. You should consult an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    There are a number of potential issues. Child can sue for injuries (no comment on probable success as circumstance not stated and therefor cannot assess potential liability). You and father might as be able to recover in your own right for your emotional injuries. See a competent personal injury attorney to discuss the circumstances of the event. He or she should be able to advise you as to the viability of a suit and an approximate value.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC | Paul S. Bovarnick
    Your son has a claim for his medical bills, past and future, and for his suffering. You probably cannot recover your lost wages.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Who spilled the coffee? You have to show fault on someones part, if you show fault and no fault on your part then you have a case
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/3/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    What caused the accident? The company that owns the store (probably a franchise) may have medical pay coverage in its insurance policy that covers medical bills regardless of whether the store was negligent. If you can establish liability, you can sue for pain and suffering and un-reimbursed medical bills. I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle personal injury cases so please feel free to check out my web site and contact me to discuss the case. I would be interested in the case if we can establish liability.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/3/2011
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