Serious Injury After Coffee Spill Leads To Lawsuit

In-N-Out Burger has been sued by a 23-year-old woman who says she was burned by a cup of coffee. The woman claims that the scalding coffee fell in her lap after she went through a drive-thru in April 2013. Allegedly, the burger restaurant also refused to telephone 911 on her behalf following her serious injury. This case may appear familiar to some New Mexico residents, who may remember a 1992 lawsuit against McDonald’s regarding a scalding hot coffee spill.

The In-N-Out Burger employees told the burn victim that calling for medical aid on behalf of a customer was against its company policies. Rather than call 911, the In-N-Out burger employees provided the young woman with ice. However, applying ice to a burn can actually make the injury worse. The employees further instructed the woman to move out of the way of their line. Thus far, In-N-Out Burger has refrained from commenting on the legal issue.

The lawsuit alleges that In-N-Out Burger employees served the woman overly hot coffee, which was too hot for her to hold onto, causing it to drop on her legs. Then employees refused to contact 911 after she suffered a serious injury. Allegedly, the woman required three days of medical treatment in a hospital burn unit. She still requires laser treatment to ameliorate the scarring.

In the 1992 New Mexico case against McDonald’s for coffee spill burns, the plaintiff was eventually awarded $2.5 million for damages. Indeed, a burn wound can be a serious injury that requires extensive and costly medical treatment. In some cases, victims never fully recover. If the burns were caused by another individual or a business’s negligence, however, a successfully navigated personal injury lawsuit could be an excellent means for victims to obtain restitution to finance their medical care in addition to restitution for pain, suffering, the costs of litigating a claim and more.

Source:, “UC Berkeley grad burned badly by scalding coffee sues In-N-Out Burger”, Malaika Fraley, May 23, 2014

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