Burned by hot coffee

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Burned by hot coffee

I went to a drive up window for coffee and the person working the drive thru did not put the coffee lid on tight and when I went to put the coffee in the cup holder the lid came off and spilled over the top part of my hand and part of my wrist. I did not seek medical attention did not feel the need. After the dead skin finally all peel off I am left with what I feel are going to be permanent markings from the burn, am I entitled to any kind of compensation for this.

Asked on January 28, 2018 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You *may* be entitled to compensation, but it depends on whether you can convince a court that the problem was that the server did not put the lid on properly, and not that you squeezed the cup too hard or knocked the lid off yourself, and that may be difficult if you were the only witness to what happened. The problem is that as the person suing (plaintiff), the burden of proof is on you: you must be more persuasive and credible than the other side (e.g. the server, who would testify he did everything right). If you and the other side are equally believeable or credible, you lose.
Second, a personal injury suit  can be expensive because you may need medical expert testimony about the injury and future prognosis (i.e. whether any scars or marks will fade, and when). Such experts do not work cheap--they can cost many hundreds to a few thousand dollars. But if the markings are minor or faint, you might not get a lot of money for them even if you win; it is possible this would not be an economically worthwhile legal action.


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