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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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Wood Dale personal injury attorney truck accident

Driving a commercial truck across the country is a challenging profession. Truck drivers must contend with long days, unpredictable work schedules, and erratic sleeping patterns. Fatigue can have a considerable impact on a person’s ability to drive – especially when people are maneuvering a large commercial truck. Sleepiness causes lowered reaction times, impaired decision-making, tunnel vision, and memory problems. Drivers who are extremely sleep deprived may even fall asleep at the wheel. Federal law has instituted restrictions designed to curb the frequency of fatigued driver truck accidents. Unfortunately, truck accidents caused by sleepiness or falling asleep at the wheel are still alarmingly common.  

Hours of Service Rules Are Intended to Prevent Fatigued Driving

Adults are supposed to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. The less sleep an individual gets at night, the greater their chances of being involved in a car accident the next day. In fact, a study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that missing as little as one or two hours of sleep nearly doubles the chances of being involved in a collision. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted certain restrictions on the number of hours that commercial truck drivers may drive consecutively without stopping for a rest break. For example, truck drivers carrying property may drive for a maximum of 11 hours after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours. However, these regulations were recently loosened in order to provide truck drivers greater flexibility while dealing with increased demand due to COVID-19.

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Park Ridge personal injury attorney wrongful death

Losing someone in an accident caused by another person’s reckless actions is heartbreaking. If you have lost a close relative in a drunk driving car accident, you may be facing tremendous grief as well as burdensome financial problems. Illinois law gives surviving loved ones the right to bring a wrongful death claim against a party when that party’s reckless, illegal, or intentionally harmful conduct causes someone’s death. If your loved one was killed in a drunk driving crash, a wrongful death claim may help you hold the negligent driver accountable for the death as well as recover compensation for your financial losses.

What Is Considered a Wrongful Death in Illinois?

A wrongful death claim can be thought of as an injury claim that is brought on a deceased person’s behalf. According to Illinois statute, a successful wrongful death claim is possible when:

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We note a truism concerning the medical industry in a recent Kaiser Hafezi blog post: "The direct results of negligently delivered care are widespread and frequently devastating for victims and their loved ones."

One particular category of negligence merits special attention from medical malpractice law firms. That is the realm of so-called "never events."

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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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