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Cook County product liability lawyerIndividuals above a certain age may remember news stories about a woman suing the McDonald’s restaurant chain because her coffee was too hot. The 1994 lawsuit made international headlines and became the go-to example of “frivolous” lawsuits. For almost 30 years, the McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit has been touted as the epitome of American litigiousness. However, the real story behind the infamous product liability lawsuit may surprise you.

The Real Facts of Stella Liebeck’s Hot Coffee Claim

If you are like most people, you may remember reacting to the “hot coffee” lawsuit by rolling your eyes in disbelief. After all, everyone knows that coffee is hot. You may remember hearing that the woman spilled the coffee on herself because she was attempting to simultaneously remove the lid while driving. You may have also heard that the woman received an exorbitantly high payout for the incident.

Unfortunately, the real story is much more disturbing. The coffee that the 79-year-old plaintiff spilled on herself was not just hot – it was outrageously hot. The coffee was approximately 190 degrees Fahrenheit. That is only 22 degrees shy of boiling. At temperatures this high, coffee is capable of causing full-thickness burns in less than three seconds. Furthermore, the woman was not driving at the time of the incident. She was in the passenger seat, and the vehicle was parked. When she took off the lid to add sugar to the coffee, the coffee spilled on her lap. Liebeck suffered third-degree burns down to the fatty tissue and muscle on nearly 20 percent of her body. Her burns were so severe that she required multiple surgeries and years of recovery. McDonald’s had also received hundreds of reports of the coffee burning customers previously, but the company did not lower the temperature at which coffee was served. Liebeck eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.

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DuPage County personal injury attorney

When another party’s negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing causes someone to be injured, the negligent party may be liable for damages. This means that the injured person is entitled to compensation for the losses they sustained. Financial compensation may be available for the actual expenses incurred by the injury as well as the non-financial losses like pain and suffering. The amount of compensation available in a personal injury claim varies significantly from case to case, but the same basic factors are typically used to determine the compensation awarded.  

The Severity of Your Injuries Will Impact the Value of Your Case

As anyone who has ever received a hospital bill can attest, the cost of medical treatment in the United States can be astronomical. Even seemingly minor injuries such as a laceration or a small fracture can incur steep medical bills. Compensation for past medical bills as well as future medical expenses may be available in a personal injury claim. If your injuries require multiple surgeries, ongoing rehabilitative care such as physical therapy, and other costly treatment, this will increase the potential value of your claim.

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Kaiser Hafezi Law is honored to announce that Daniel J. Kaiser and Mariam L. Hafezi have been named as top-rated lawyers by Super Lawyers.

The 2020 Illinois Super Lawyers list recognizes just 5 percent of the attorneys in the state who demonstrate exceptional professional competence as well as a high degree of recognition by peers.

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Winter in Illinois can be brutal. And it's not just the freezing cold or the heavy snows, either. A big reason why winter is so treacherous is due to the weather-related hazards we must navigate every day.

Unfortunately, these hazards cause injuries more often than we'd like. In some cases, an accident is just that - an accident. In other cases, however, incidents like slipping, tripping and falling are the consequence of another party's negligence. So, who is to blame for winter accidents and injuries?

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Some law firms spotlight their focused commitment to personal injury victims, yet their advocacy may be tempered by multiple practice areas competing for attention.

Kaiser Hafezi Law is not one of those firms.

Indeed, the legal team at our long-established Bensenville law firm advocates exclusively on behalf of injury and accident victims and their families. In doing so, we proudly bring more than a century of collective experience and applied acumen to bear on their behalf, diligently seeking optimal recoveries marked by maximum compensation in every client matter.

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