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Australian sues McDonalds over Coffee Burns

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 An Australian woman is suing McDonald’s over burns to her leg that she says were inflicted by a cup of coffee.

The lawsuit is very similar to that made by Stella Liebeck in 1994, against McDonald’s in the United States. Liebeck won US$2.8million in compensation, after suffering burns to six percent of her body. The case, and its outcome, attracted significant media coverage at the time including a version of the scenario on Seinfield.

Jessica Wishart, who purchased her cup of coffee in Renmark in 2009, claims to have suffered second-degree burns which she says resulted from coffee spilling onto her thighs – due to the intense heat emanating from the cup and the failure of McDonald’s to properly secure the lid.

Her District Court statement of claim says that she was admitted to hospital, and that she “has permanent scarring and had difficulty walking and that she can no longer drink coffee, or go into any McDonald’s stores".

Products liability insurance can take away the risk of having to spend large amounts of money defending against such claims.  With product liability insurance, there is still going to be loss of time dealing with it that will not be covered, but at least you have the resource to defend these types of allegations. If you actually end up losing at least the insurance company will cover the costs. 

This cases illustrates the importance of product liability insurance to any consumer-facing businesses. 

Last changed: Apr 25 2013 at 12:29 PM

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