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A restaurant spilled a pot of scalding hot coffee on the table & on to my thigh causing a 1st degree burn. Do I have a lawsuit?

Atlanta, GA |

This happened today.
There is no scaring so far but I do have an autoimmune disease, it was very painful and caused me much stress. i went to the doctor, got ointment but I'm still feeling the burn. The manager got my info and they acknowledged it and apoligized.

Attorney Answers 7


Follow-up with your doctor tomorrow, take photographs, try to get a copy of the incident report, try to get names/contact information from witnesses, and speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. Good luck.

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A lawyer can go after the insurance policy on the restaurant.

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I am licensed in Nevada, but this answer should apply in Georgia as well.

First, take care of yourself. As you know, autoimmune diseases can cause different (and usually worse) results than if you didn't have the disease. If you have health insurance you should get all of your treatment covered by the insurance. Your insurer may require you to sign a subrogation agreement once they know there is a possibility of a lawsuit against a third party (the restaurant.) All this does is require you to pay them back the out of pocket costs they paid for your medical bills IF you recover from the i third party. An attorney can guide you through many issues involved with the subrogation lien that would be attached to your settlement claim, if any.

Hopefully, you have no further consequences. If that is the case, it may not be worth pursuing a case (especially with an attorney). However, if you are unfortunate enough to have more serious issues, you should seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer to help with your case. You will have to show liability (which seems clear from the facts you have given) and damages caused by the accident (which also seems clear as you had no burned thigh prior to the coffee being spilled on it.

Hope this helps.

/s Donald Kudler

This answer does not create an attorney client relationship and does not constitute legal advice, but is solely the opinion of a Nevada Attorney.

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Yes you have a potential claim.You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on dealing with many of the issues you are now facing.

Legal Disclaimer:

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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First seek medical attention. Take photos of the blistering and any damage to or skin. You may need a lwyer to sit down with you and evaluate your case. Remember though all the publicity about the McDonalds case.

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Yes, it certainly appears you have a claim, as the server was negligent. I agree with the advice of the other attorneys to your question. In Georgia, your insurer does not have a subrogation right to get back from you any medical expenses they paid on your behalf. It's possible that they have a "right of reimbursement" written in their contracts, but, as a practical matter, very few clients will have to pay back their health insurer.

Do not settle your claim until you are well or have a respected final opinion from a dr. about your injuries. If you are over 18 years-old, you have two years to file a claim. Right now, besides getting medical treatment, you should regularly photograph your burn.

I would like to discuss your situation with you. Early in my career I defended restaurants for such burn injuries-trying several such claims. I have handled several cases over the years concerning burned coffee. I am now pursing a burn case involving another substance. Do not let anyone compare the well known McDonald's hot coffee case with your injury. A negligent spill is, of course, much different than simply serving coffee that was too hot.

Feel free to contact me at 706-549-9500 or visit my web site at I am in Athens, but I represent folks all over middle and north Georgia, and can meet with clients in the metro Atlanta area.

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I agree with the other lawyers who have answered your question. It definitely sounds like you have a claim for negligence. I strongly encourage you to take photos to show the burn and continue to take photos as it heals. Additionally, I expect that you will soon be receiving a call from the insurance company for the restaurant and they will want to take your recorded statement. I would refrain from giving a recorded statement until you have spoken with a lawyer about your claim. I also agree with Mr. Flinn regarding the "McDonald's Coffee" case, but think that the circumstances of your injuries are far more compelling than that case. I wish you all the best in the resolution of your claim. If we can be of service to you, please do not hesitate to contact us at 404-835-4935 or visit us at

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