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Think You Know the Truth About the McDonald’s Coffee Case?

We’ve all heard the story – a woman ordered a McDonald’s coffee and tried to hold it between her legs while driving. It spilled. She sued; and then won millions of dollars in the “lottery” of personal injury cases.

As personal injury lawyers in North Carolina, we cringe every time we hear this story.

Partially because it has become a symbol of a justice system gone awry.

person in a hospital bed with vital signs being shown on a screenAnd partially because it’s: Just. Not. True. At least not in the way many people understand it. Many facts have been altered or omitted along the way.

“This story is the most widely-misunderstood story in America.”

That’s a quote from the New York Times’ recent video about what really happened.

The video tells the story a little differently. It talks about:

  • An emergency room visit
  • 3rd degree burns
  • Skin grafts
  • A week’s stay at the hospital
  • $10k of medical bills
  • Multiple warnings from others to McDonald’s
  • Coffee temperatures that can scald upon contact (30 degrees higher than home brewers!)
  • And a much, much lower settlement amount.

“If people would have seen the severity of the burns, they would have understood that this was no laughing matter,” said her lawyer.

For those pictures (at the 5 minute mark – brace yourself), and the entire story, just click on the video below.