People sometimes think they would like to win a big personal injury lawsuit. They look at the advertisements personal injury lawyers plaster everywhere and think that these personal injury attorneys want people to sue even when they do nit have a real case. They cite the case of the woman who was burned by McDonald’s coffee as an example of a litigious society rife with frivolous lawsuits without ever really looking into the specifics. The truth of the matter is that personal injury lawyers are there to protect people from both corporations and other individuals. We have rights but we do not have an inherent right to hurt each other.
In the famous McDonald’s case, Stella Liebeck placed her coffee in between her legs and when it spilled was burned in the most private of places. The jury in the case awarded her $2.7 million in punitive damages. The case was notable because this award was so large. What is often lost in the conversation about this kind of case is how badly Liebeck was injured. She has third degree burns over 6% of her body. She spent eight days in the hospital and needed skin grafts. The permanent damage caused by the coffee left her partially disabled for two years. Moreover, McDonalds had received more than 700 complaints about its coffee being too hot from 1982 to 1992. They had already paid out more than $500,000 in damages to people who had been burned by it. Their policy was and is to keep coffee at temperatures that can cause a third degree burn within two to seven seconds.
The point of all of this is not to single out one restaurant or franchise for being improperly managed but to highlight an example of a person being injured by another’s negligence or callousness. Liebeck was right to sue for her injuries. Her life was never the same after this incident and she needed nursing care until she died ten years later. Her personal injury lawyers did not take the case because they wanted to make a quick buck and screw the system, they did it because it was the right thing to do.
If you have been in an accident or have been injured by a product you used, you may have the right to sue. Finding a good lawyer to take your case is about more than just scoring a big settlement. You may make the world aware of a problem they did not know about, as in Liebeck’s case or the lawsuit may change the behavior of the offending party. Either way, public safety is enhanced by the actions of the plaintiff and their personal injury lawyers.
Reasons to talk to personal injury lawyers about your case:
- You do not have to pay unless you win. Most personal injury lawyers do not expect to get paid unless they get a settlement for their clients.
- They can give you an objective assessment. Because most personal injury lawyers do not get paid unless you win, there really is no incentive to take on frivolous cases. They can tell you if they realistically think you have a chance with your case.
- They can help resolve the issue out of court. The vast majority of cases are settled before getting to court. Even the final amount Liebeck received was the result of negotiations between her personal injury lawyers and McDonalds, not what was decided at trial.
- They know the process. How much do you know about the personal injury law? Personal injury lawyers have spend years, if not decades, working with it. They know the best way to get you what you really deserve after you have been hurt.
When you start talking to lawyers, it is crucial you hire a lawyer who is experienced in personal injury law. You do not need, say, a criminal law expert. Even the best criminal defense lawyer cannot deal with a personal injury lawsuit the way an expert in this kind of law can. If you do some research, you will find the best lawyer to tackle your case.