Claiming injury compensation for an accident in McDonalds is not always a straightforward process. Due to different state laws, different definitions of negligence, and even different owners (franchisees), there can be a variety of obstacles put in your way when you make accident in McDonalds injury claims.
Furthermore, no two injury claims for an accident in McDonalds are identical. Even though you may have sustained a similar injury to a previous accident victim, settlements of compensation for an injury in an accident in McDonalds can vary according to your age, your previous state of health and even your gender.
The impact an injury has on your quality of life, your loss of earnings and your medical expenses are other factors that can influence the settlement of accident in McDonalds injury claims for compensation. Consequently, if you intend to claim injury compensation for an accident in McDonalds, you should always first seek professional legal advice from a personal injury lawyer.
Negligence and Injury Compensation for an Accident in McDonalds
When you claim accident in McDonalds injury compensation, it has to be demonstrated that you sustained a verifiable injury due to a breach in the duty of care owed to you by McDonalds, the franchisee or the license holder. The fact that you sustained a verifiable injury can be demonstrated by your medical records. A breach in the duty of care can be much more difficult to prove.
McDonalds, the franchisee, or the license holder (we´ll just use “McDonalds” from here onwards) does not have an “absolute” duty of care to protect its customers and employees from the risk of injury at all times. What this means is that, if an accident was unforeseeable and could not have been avoided, McDonalds will not be considered negligent and liable for your injury.
An example of an unforeseeable accident is if a drink is spilled by a customer, and McDonalds do not have a “reasonable” amount of time to clear up the spill or isolate the hazard before you slip on the wet surface and are injured in a fall. What constitutes a “reasonable” amount of time can vary according to how busy the restaurant is and whether the spill was reported to the restaurant by another customer.
Provided the two elements of accidents in McDonalds injury claims are fulfilled, you should be eligible for injury compensation for an accident in McDonalds. The only exception to this rule occurs if you were partially to blame for the cause of your accident or the extent of your injury, and you live in a state that has rules governing contributory negligence – a point that is covered in the next section.
Comparative Negligence and Contributory Negligence
The legal terms “comparative negligence” and “contributory negligence” in injury claims for an accident in McDonalds mean effectively the same thing – that you contributed to the cause of your accident or the extent of your injury by your own negligence.
One example of comparative/contributory negligence would be if you failed to apply the handbrake when receiving a cup of hot coffee at a drive-thru, and your car rolled forward causing the hot coffee to spill and scald you. A further example is in you were injured in a slip and fall accident in McDonalds, but failed to seek medical attention immediately and allowed your condition to deteriorate.
The significance of comparative negligence in an injury claim for an accident in McDonalds is that you will be assigned a percentage liability in the settlement of your claim, and that percentage will be deducted from how much injury compensation for an accident in McDonalds you are entitled to.
If the accident occurred in Alabama, D.C., Maryland, North Carolina or Virginia, the principal of contributory negligence will be applied and you will be unable to claim accident in McDonalds injury compensation – even if the restaurant, an agent or an employee was 99% at fault for your injury.
Common Injury Claims for an Accident in McDonalds
There are many different types of adverse events that can result in an injury claim for an accident in McDonalds. Undoubtedly the most common is a claim for a slip and fall accident in McDonalds, as fast-food restaurants aim to serve as many customers as possible in the shortest space of time. Consequently, spilled food and drinks are a common occurrence – far more so than in a formal restaurant setting.
McDonalds Slip and Fall Settlements
McDonalds slip and fall settlements are subject to the “absolute duty of care” rule mentioned above and any contributory or comparative negligence that may be involved. Slip and fall settlements at McDonalds can relate to any slip and fall accident – whether in the restaurant due to food or drink spilled on the floor, in the restroom because of a wet floor surface, or out in the McDonalds parking lot due to cold or wet weather.
It is important that you do not rush to accept any McDonalds slip and fall settlements offered to you. Slip and fall accident typically result in soft tissue and back injuries that may take some time to fully manifest. It is often in your best interests to wait until you have a full prognosis of your injury before considering any McDonalds slip and fall settlements made to you by the company.
Claim for a Scalding Accident in McDonalds
Undoubtedly the most famous claim for a scalding accident in McDonalds is that relating to Stella Liebeck. In 1994, Liebeck claimed $12,500 compensation for an injury in an accident in McDonalds after hot coffee was spilled on her when she was the passenger in a car visiting the drive-thru of a McDonald’s franchise in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The case went to a hearing where the jury heard that more than 700 injury claims for an accident in McDonalds due to scalding had been made in the previous ten years, but that the company did not consider the matter serious enough to do anything about it. The jury awarded Stella $2.86 million in injury compensation for an accident in McDonalds – a figure that was reduced to $640,000 on appeal.
Claim for a Broken Tooth in a McDonalds Accident
Although it is possible to break a tooth in a slip and fall accident in McDonalds, the most common reason for making a claim for a broken tooth in a McDonalds accident is sustaining an injury when biting into foreign objects cooked into the food. Among many different claims of this nature, customers have been known break a tooth on pieces of plastic or shards of glass concealed within their food.
A broken tooth can not only be painful, but expensive to resolve. Depending upon the location of the tooth and the severity of the injury, a customer may have to spend thousands of dollars for dental treatment, tooth replacement, porcelain veneers, or other remedial dentistry. These expenses should be included in a claim for a broken tooth in a McDonalds accident.
Injury Claims for Choking on Food in McDonalds
According to the National Restaurant Council, more than 3,000 people die each year due to choking on food in restaurants. Choking can occur for a variety of reasons. While speaking or laughing, food can bypass the throat and lodge in a customer’s windpipe, or customers can choke on bones, gristle or foreign objects cooked into the food.
Often, it is not choking that causes a serious injury, but the restaurant’s failure to administer CPR or call for emergency medical assistance in a timely manner. If there has been a failure to respond to an emergency situation promptly, and you suffer an injury due to an avoidable breach in the restaurant´s duty of care, it will be possible to make injury claims for choking on food in McDonalds.
McDonalds Food Poisoning Compensation
Food poisoning in McDonalds can also be a reason for claiming injury compensation for an accident in McDonalds. Although not strictly speaking an accident in the physical sense, you can make a claim McDonalds food poisoning compensation if it can be proven that food purchased at the restaurant was under-cooked, not refrigerated correctly or contaminated due to a lack of hygiene.
One of the most important factors relating to McDonalds food poisoning compensation claims is that you seek medical attention quickly after experiencing the symptoms of food poisoning. This advice is not only suggested for the good of your health but, if you were to leave visiting a doctor for several days after your illness materialized, it could be claimed that you ate contaminated food at another venue, and that McDonalds is not liable for your injury.
McDonalds Liability for Security
McDonalds has a duty of care to ensure its customers are protected from the risk of foreseeable injuries – and that includes providing security in locations where there is a known risk of injury from violence, robbery or assault. McDonalds liability for security also applies to employees who are regularly assaulted by customers or victims of an assault as they are arriving or leaving the premises.
Proving McDonalds liability for security is not always straightforward. The restaurant chain will deny it is responsible for the well-being of its customers and employees outside of a premises. However, if it can be proven that reports of injury from violence, robbery or assault have been made to the police in the past, and McDonalds failed to take appropriate action, it will be possible to make an injury claim for an accident in McDonalds.
Other Injury Claims for an Accident in McDonalds
Although the above list features the most common reasons for claiming compensation for an injury in an accident in McDonalds, there are many more scenarios in which it may be possible to make injury claims for an accident in McDonalds. Injuries sustained due to poorly maintained furniture can be serious, as can puncture wounds caused by exposed screws, splinters and broken glass on the floor.
Employee Accident in McDonalds Injury Compensation
If you have been injured while working as an employee of a McDonalds restaurant, you are entitled to claim workers comp from your employer´s insurance company. It should not be necessary to claim employee accident in McDonalds injury compensation unless your claim is contested or you experience difficulty in recovering your full entitlement of compensation.
Similar to the most common reason for customers to claim compensation for an injury in an accident in McDonalds, many employees are injured in slip and fall accidents. Fallen food, spilled drinks and a build-up of grease near deep fat fryers can result in very slippery floors. It is the responsibility of the store manager to ensure that these hazards are removed as quickly as possible.
Burns from fryers, heat lamps and grill tops are also a common cause of employee injuries in McDonalds – not necessarily due to faulty equipment, but a lack of protective clothing and proper training. Indeed, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is currently investigating a complaint made by injured employees of nine corporate-owned restaurants and nineteen franchises that they were not protected sufficiently against the hazards of working in a McDonalds kitchen.
Workers’ compensation laws vary according to state and can be difficult to understand – so difficult that many employees are not aware they are entitled to employee accident in McDonalds injury compensation. If you are an employee of McDonalds and you have been injured in an accident for which you were not to blame, it can often be in your best interests to speak with a personal injury lawyer at the earliest possible opportunity.
Seeking Medical Attention Should be Your Priority
Regardless of whether you have been injured in an accident in McDonalds as a customer or an employee, seeking medical attention should always be your priority. State and local regulations stipulate that restaurants must keep a well-stocked first aid kit available at all times, and so you should advise the restaurant manager of your injury and its cause at once.
If you are unable to do this yourself, ask a friend, family member or other customer to attract the manager´s attention for you. In the case of a serious injury, the manager should call 911 or arrange for you to be transported to the nearest available medical center. Even when first aid has been administered at McDonalds, you should still make it your priority to seek professional medical attention.
Under no circumstances should you leave the restaurant without reporting your accident and injury. For accident reporting and insurance purposes, the manager will likely want to complete an incident report. If you leave the McDonalds restaurant without reporting your injury, and return later, the hazard responsible for your injury may have been removed and it will be difficult to support a claim for accident in McDonalds injury compensation.
As mentioned above, failing to seek immediate professional medical attention can affect the value of accident in McDonalds injury claims. If you sustain an injury that later deteriorates into a more serious condition, the compensation you will be entitled to will only account for the initial injury. If this happens, the amount of injury compensation for an accident in McDonalds you are ultimately awarded may not be sufficient to cover your medical costs.
Claiming Injury Compensation for an Accident in McDonalds
With your accident recorded by the restaurant manager, and your injury recorded in your medical notes, you have the two elements required to claim injury compensation for an accident in McDonalds. However, the resolution of your injury claim for an accident in McDonalds will be accelerated if you also have witness statements and photographic or video evidence of the hazard responsible for your injury.
With this information, your lawyer will write to the restaurant´s insurance carrier, advising them of your injury, how it happened and the consequences to your health and your quality of life. The letter will be support by documentation such as the evidence you have collected and a prognosis of your injury. Your lawyer will also calculate the financial cost of your injury and how much injury compensation for an accident in McDonalds you are entitled to.
The insurance company will conduct an investigation into your claim for an accident in McDonalds injury compensation, and either deny their clients liability for your injury or make an offer of settlement. If the offer of settlement is made to you directly, you should always refer it to your lawyer to ensure you receive a fair and adequate settlement for your pain and suffering.
If the injury claim for an accident in McDonalds is contested or the offer of settlement inappropriate, your solicitor will try to resolve your claim by negotiation. If it is impossible to reach a negotiated settlement, your lawyer will discuss initiating litigation. This may lead to a court hearing of your injury claim for an accident in McDonalds or your case may be resolved by mediation.
The Statute of Limitations and Claims Made on Behalf of a Child
The Statute of Limitations is the time-limit available to you to file injury claims for an accident in McDonalds. The time limit starts of the date you are aware you have suffered an avoidable injury due to the negligence of the restaurant (this called the “date of knowledge”) and is not necessarily the date on which the accident happened. Claims for food poisoning in McDonalds is an example of when you might not have known you had sustained an injury on the day you ate contaminated food.
The Statute of Limitations varies according to the state in which your accident occurred. In states such as Tennessee or Kentucky, you are only allowed one year from the Date of Knowledge in which to claim compensation for an injury in an accident in McDonalds. In Maine or North Dakota, the Statute of Limitations for injury claims for an accident in McDonalds is six years. It is better not to risk having your entitlement to compensation disqualified by leaving it too late, and you should seek professional legal advice as soon as possible.
You should also seek professional legal advice as soon as possible if your child has been injured in an accident in McDonalds. Although the Statute of Limitations does not apply to children under the age of majority (18 years of age in some states, 21 years of age in others), children are not allowed to engage in civil litigation either and have to be represented by a “guardian ad litem” – usually a parent or other responsible adult.
The process for being appointed a guardian ad litem is not complicated. However it has to be shown that the legal action being taken is in the child´s best interests and that there is no conflict of interest – for example, if you as a parent of the injured child are the manager of the McDonalds restaurant in which the child was injured. Any non-court awarded settlement of injury compensation for an accident in McDonalds also have to be approved by a judge to ensure it is in your child´s best interests.
How Much Compensation for an Injury in an Accident in McDonalds
How much compensation for an injury in an accident in McDonalds you are entitled can depend on many different factors. Your past and future pain and suffering is the main consideration but, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, settlements of compensation for an injury in an accident in McDonalds can vary according to your age, your previous state of health and even your gender.
The impact that your injury has had on your quality of life should also be considered in the calculation of accident in McDonalds injury compensation. If you are unable to temporarily or permanently pursue activities that were formally part of your everyday life, this element can be included in an injury claim for an accident in McDonalds. In certain cases it may also be possible to include a claim for loss of consortium by your partner.
Any verifiable psychological injuries should also be accounted for. Depending on the circumstances of your injury, your may have suffered am emotional trauma that develops into anything from a loss of confidence to chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is also possible that, if you have been immobile for long periods during your recovery, you may have suffered some level of depression. Your lawyer will arrange for a psychiatric evaluation if this is likely to be the case.
Other factors that can influence the settlement of injury claims for an accident in McDonalds include the financial implications of your injury. The settlement of your claim should place you in the financial position you would have been in if your accident in McDonalds had never occurred. Consequently you should be able to recover past and future medical expenses, loss of earnings and transportation costs if you have been unable to drive due to your injury.
“Contingency Fee” Accident in McDonalds Injury Claims
As mentioned throughout this article, it is recommended that you speak with a personal injury lawyer at the earliest practical opportunity when you have been injured in an accident in McDonalds for which you were not entirely to blame. The sooner you discuss your accident with a lawyer, the sooner you will discover whether you have a claim for compensation for an injury in an accident in McDonalds that is worth your while to pursue.
Nearly all personal injury lawyers offer an initial consultation free of charge and, if the lawyer feels that your case has merit, he or she will offer to represent you through the “contingency fee” accident in McDonalds injury claims process. What this means is that the lawyer will not charge you for his or her time during the preparation of your claim, and only charge a fee when your claim is successfully resolved.
If your injury claim for an accident in McDonalds is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay your lawyer for his or services – although you may still be liable for certain disbursements such as court filing fees. The services included in your lawyer´s representation, the terms of the “contingent fee” accident in McDonalds injury claim process, and any costs you may personally liable should be discussed and agreed upon prior to you signing a retainer or undertaking any legal action.
Free Legal Advice about Injury Compensation for an Accident in McDonalds
Obviously there is a lot of information in the above article, and we understand that some of it may be too much to absorb – especially if you are still recovering from an injury you sustained in an accident in McDonalds. Consequently, we invite you to give us a call and discuss the nature of your accident in McDonalds, the injuries you sustained and the impact your injuries have had on your quality of life.
Please note that by calling us and discussing your options for claiming injury compensation for an accident in McDonalds, you are under no obligation to proceed with legal action or use our services. We aim to answer any questions you have about making an injury claim for an accident in McDonalds so that you have the information you need in order to make an informed decision about how you would like to proceed – if you choose to proceed at all.
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