Q: What about the McDonalds case? Wasn't that a frivolous lawsuit? I heard that lady got millions of dollars for spilling coffee in her lap! Isn't that outrageous?
A: People have been writing and talking about this case for years. It is true that the injured woman was awarded money by a jury; however, there are many important facts that we never hear about in the press. You might have heard that the woman was driving; the fact is that she was the passenger. You probably did not hear that such suffered third degree burns over 6% of her body, including her inner thighs and genitalia. You probably did not hear that McDonald’s knew that it’s coffee was dangerously hot and that it could cause serious injury but decided to continue selling it at a very high termperature. You probably also did not hear that the jury awarded the woman $160,000 to compensate her for the injury, but it awarded $2.7 million to punish McDonald’s for its actions. Also, the verdict was reduced by the judge to $640,000 and later McDonald’s and the woman settled the case for an undisclosed sum. If you want to read anything more about the case, we have included a summary elsewhere on our Web site.
Q: Can't I just settle my case myself without hiring a lawyer?
A: Some people are surprised when we answer YES, you may be able to settle your case without hiring a lawyer. In fact, in the right circumstances, we tell people who come to us that they don’t really need a lawyer, that they should work with the insurance company themselves so they don’t have to pay a lawyer to do it for them. However, these are cases where the injury is relatively minor, and never when the injuries are serious. Insurance companies know that a lawyer will not want to try a minor case, so they actually may make a smaller offer if there’s a lawyer involved just because they know it makes no economic sense for a lawyer to put in the time and the client’s money to go to trial
Q: How much is my case worth?
A: Many people ask this question, and it is natural to be curious about it. However, certainly very early in the case, our answer has to be we don’t know. Many factors affect the value of a case; we can’t know them all at the beginning and they change during the lifetime of the legal process. We discuss the value of the case with our clients many times during the course of our representation, so it is never a surprise to them. Also, the case is your case, we work for you, and we cannot accept an offer from the insurance company without your authority and approval.