We enjoy our hot beverages on these cold winter days. But when served hot tea, coffee, soup, or hot chocolate, we do not expect them to be scorching hot and cause severe, painful burns if spilled. We expect our restaurants to honor a duty of care to ensure the safety of their customers.

morris countyWhile coffee may be the poster child for hot beverage burns, the legal landscape extends far beyond. Tea, soup, and even hot chocolate have all been at the center of lawsuits of injuries resulting from:

  • Serving beverages at excessively high temperatures
  • Failing to provide adequate warnings about the potential for burns
  • Using defective cups or lids that spill easily
  • Negligent handling of hot beverages by staff
  • And in the case of Howard Lesnik’s Morris County NJ client, improper application of the cup lid

These are not isolated rare cases. Just last month, a San Francisco McDonald’s was sued by a woman who suffered burns from a “scalding” cup of coffee with a faulty lid. In 2022, a Starbucks customer in Philadelphia filed a lawsuit when the rim of his cup collapsed, causing the hot beverage to spill and burn him.

The lawsuit in Morris County NJ is against a Roxbury NJ McDonald’s, and has been widely covered in the local press, including:

In this case, the client has suffered burns and is seeking compensation for medical expenses and for loss of “enjoyment of life”.

The most well-known “hot coffee lawsuit” is the Liebeck v. McDonald’s 1994 lawsuit. Stella Liebeck, a 79-year-old woman, suffered third-degree burns after spilling a cup of McDonald’s coffee on her lap. The coffee, served at a temperature exceeding 190°F (88°C), was deemed unreasonably hot by the jury, who awarded Liebeck $2.86 million in damages.

It’s important to note that the legal landscape surrounding hot beverage burns can vary depending on jurisdiction. Consulting with a legal professional familiar with the specific laws of your region is crucial for navigating this complex area.

Contact Burn Injury Lawyer Howard Lesnik

If you or a loved one suffered a burn injury in a New Jersey, you should contact an attorney familiar with handling these claims. My NJ Injury Lawyer Howard P. Lesnik, Esq. offers free strategy sessions to address any issue or questions you may have about your injury, medical bills or your burn injury claim. I personally handle NJ personal injury cases on a regular basis. Please contact me now by email, by phoning 908.264.7701, or by completing the form to the right to schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session.

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