You may have come across the news headlines regarding the court decision against McDonald’s, involving a burn caused by a chicken nugget. As a plaintiff’s Personal Injury attorney, I’ve not only seen these headlines but also heard firsthand the reactions to this case, which, while not surprising, continue to disappoint me. So, I thought it would be a good idea to address this issue directly.
First and foremost, many people seem to have formed hasty conclusions based solely on the headlines, something along the lines of, “Well, nuggets are supposed to be hot, what did they expect? This is ridiculous!” However, once you delve into the details of the incident, it becomes apparent that the situation is not as absurd as it may initially seem. Food should never cause harm. Let me emphasize this: YOUR FOOD SHOULD NEVER BE SO HOT THAT IT CAUSES INJURY. It’s a straightforward concept when you think about it, yet some still view verdicts like this as examples of excessive litigation.
In this specific case, a toddler accidentally dropped a hot chicken nugget into her lap, and it became trapped between her thigh and the seatbelt. Consequently, the scalding chicken came into contact with the child’s leg, resulting in severe second-degree burns. Many may dismiss this as frivolous litigation, but there is nothing frivolous about it. Reasonable individuals and businesses should not serve food that is so hot it can injure someone if it touches their skin. This is a legitimate case, and the injury is undeniably real. Admittedly, asking the jury for $15 million may have seemed excessive, but the beauty of the legal system lies in the jury’s ability to determine appropriate awards based on the evidence presented. In this case, the jury awarded $800,000, a significant sum but far from the initially requested $15 million.