Hot Liquid Burns

Serving Deschutes County and Litigating Throughout Oregon

Hot Liquid Burn Lawyers in Bend

Help for Injury Victims in Deschutes County, Oregon

A question that restaurant owners and consumers have been struggling with for decades is: How responsible are companies for the products they serve? In particular, restaurants that serve hot coffee have often found themselves to be the target of lawsuits after their patrons suffer severe burn injuries.

If you or a loved one have suffered a severe hot liquid burn injury, contact Miller & Hopp Attorneys at Law for a free consultation. We have litigated and resolved multiple claims relating to burns, including claims against restaurants for burn injuries.

The Famous Burn Injury Case

In 1992, the issue with serving hot drinks first achieved national attention in the famous burn injury case of Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants. In February of that year, 79-year-old customer Stella Liebeck ordered a cup of coffee from the drive-thru at McDonald’s (she was a passenger in her grandson’s car). She placed the cup between her knees so she could remove the lid to add cream and sugar, but she accidentally spilled the coffee into her lap. The result was third-degree burns because the scalding liquid burned her thighs, buttocks, and groin area.

Her injuries were so bad that she had to remain in the hospital for eight days to undergo skin grafts. Even after being discharged, she required in-home care for another three weeks. The burn injury left her permanently disfigured, and she was partially disabled.

After the event came to light in the media, one would assume that she would have earned sympathy. Instead, public opinion was mostly against her, and many blamed her for the accident. Her lawyer only sought a settlement of $20,000, which was enough to cover her medical bills and the time her family had missed from work to help take care of her. McDonald’s countered the offer with $800. However, the dispute went to trial, and Liebeck was awarded $2.7 million. Prior to an appeal, the case was eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.

McDonald’s was serving it’s coffee at 180–190°F, and while this temperature fell within the industry standard, the liquid was hot enough to cause third-degree burns in less than seven seconds. The company was aware that its coffee was causing injuries. In fact, they had received an estimated 700 reports of customers who had suffered burn injuries within the 10 years leading up to the Liebeck incident and had also settled those incidents. Therefore, negligence did play a role in this case.

Hot Liquid Burns & Personal Injury Lawsuits

The Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants case continues to be talked about for several reasons. The case prompted a controversial debate around the concept of tort reform. Incidents of hot liquid burns remain a serious issue today and are still the subject of lawsuits.

The potential for a burn injury from a hot liquid spill should not be discounted. In Liebeck’s case, she suffered severe burns, spent days in the hospital, and was left partially disabled and scarred.

A hot liquid burn injury lawsuit will involve determining whether or not the defendant can be held liable. People are expected to take reasonable precautions when they are knowingly in the presence of a hot liquid.

However, the business could be held liable if:

  • The temperature of the liquid was excessively hot
  • It was improperly stored
  • Sufficient warning labels were not posted

If liability is determined, it is possible for the plaintiff to sue for damages to cover their medical expenses, lost income, and emotional discomfort.

Burned by a Hot Liquid?

If you or a loved one have suffered a severe hot liquid burn injury, contact Miller & Hopp Attorneys at Law for a free consultation. Our legal team has years of experience in the field of personal injury law in Oregon. Miller & Hopp Attorneys at Law will take the time to assess and evaluate your case thoroughly, and there’s no fee unless we get a settlement or judgment for you.

Contact us online or call (888) 833-1023 to discuss the details of your case.

Personal Injury Attorneys in Oregon

At Miller & Hopp, we represent clients in many types of negligence-based accidents that result in injuries and damages. Under Oregon law, you have legal rights in seeking compensation for what you have endured, from past and predicted future medical expenses to pain and suffering, emotional anguish, income loss, and more. 

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Our Experienced and Dedicated Attorneys Are Ready to Help

With 50 years of combined experience, the lawyers at Miller & Hopp Attorneys at Law have the skills and knowledge to confront legal issues in any area related to your case.

Miller & Hopp Attorneys at Law encompasses an extensive range of practice areas. We do not limit our practice or focus to one particular area of law. Our firm can use different strategies that will be most beneficial to the specifics of your case.

Contact us today or call (888) 833-1023 to arrange to speak with one of our attorneys about your case.

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