Dunkin Donuts Settles Burn Injury Lawsuit
Woman received over half a million dollars for hot coffee burns and other injuries.
Dunkin Donuts has agreed to pay a New Jersey woman $522,000 in damages for burns and other injuries suffered when she fell in a store parking lot and spilled coffee on herself. The surprise settlement comes just days before the case was scheduled to go to court.
The accident took place in January of 2012. The victim, Maria Marsala, had purchased several coffees at a Dunkin Donuts in Highland Park NJ and was taking them back to her car when she tripped over an exposed spike in a broken curb stop. As she fell, she cut her hand and knee and suffered serious burn injuries on her face and neck from the spilled coffees.
Marsala’s suit targeted Dunkin Donuts, the operators of the Highland Park franchise, and the owner of the property, alleging that their inadequate property management in failing to fix the curb stop caused her injuries.
This case brings out two important points:
1. Never let anyone belittle your injuries. Liable parties may try to downplay the injuries suffered by a victim in an effort to avoid paying out a large settlement amount. In some cases, popular opinion can add to this pressure. For example, a hot coffee injury immediately reminds many people of an infamous case in which a woman won an extremely high settlement from McDonald’s after being burned by coffee that was too hot. Not everyone agreed with the verdict and now this case is sometimes cited by the layperson as an example of a ridiculous personal injury lawsuit. Of course, when this happens it is because people are not recalling the complete details of the case—the coffee’s lid was not secured properly and this act of negligence on the part of the McDonald’s employee was very important.
In this case, Marsala should be applauded for not being cowed by the public perception of hot coffee injuries as somehow being the victim’s fault and instead continuing to pursue her claim despite opposition from Dunkin Donuts.
2. Never give up on a settlement. This case also shows that sticking to your guns and being willing to take an issue to litigation can really pay off. After refusing to settle for years, Dunkin Donuts finally settled the suit the same month it was set to go to court. Marsala is surely glad that she chose to continue pursuing the high amount of compensation she deserved rather than settling for a lower amount years ago.
Have You Suffered an Injury at a Business?
If you have suffered any kind of injury due to a defect at a commercial property, you need to contact an experienced premises attorney such as Fernand D. Vargas right away.