In this day and age of lawsuits, the million-dollar award over a coffee burn has almost become a cultural joke. However, it really did happen earlier this year for a Buford woman, Cynthia Nance, who was seriously wounded by a QuikTrip cappuccino machine. As an experienced Atlanta burn injury lawyer, I can assure readers that this case is quite real and very serious.
How did Nance win so much money from such an apparently commonplace injury? Well, for one thing, her encounter with the machine left her with a permanent nerve disorder. But this is not to say that one can win a million dollars–or any dollars for that matter–by simply spilling hot coffee on oneself.
What happened in this case was that 190-degree water shot from the machine onto Nance’s hand and arm, due to a part that had been removed for cleaning and not been replaced. Therefore, the QuikStop staff was culpable for not routinely replacing the part of an extremely dangerous machine.
Burn injuries can be very serious. In addition to Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy syndrome, which is what this particular Gwinnett County burn injury victim was left with, severe burns can lead to a variety of crippling conditions, including shock and severe infection.
Since this 2007 accident, QuikTrip has wisely replaced all of its cappuccino machines, presumably to a model that is less likely to cause catastrophic personal injury due to simple forgetfulness on the part of an employee.
Nevertheless, the damage has been done. Nance must undergo regular nerve treatment, take serious pain medication and may need an electronic implant to correct her nerve damage. Medical treatment, as we are all aware, is not cheap, and as a result of this injury Nance may require medical treatment for the rest of her life. Considering that sophisticated medical treatment of a nerve condition could cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, $1.2 million for even a “just” coffee burn–is not nearly as large an amount as it initially seems.
A dedicated Atlanta area burn injury attorney can help ensure that your losses are compensated fully and justly. For a free, private consultation at one of our Gwinnett County and Greater Atlanta offices, please contact us today. We will speak with you personally about your situation and will provide our evaluation of your case and medical needs for the future.