The ordinary man will always have difficulty wading through the intricacies of the law. This is why we have lawyers, after all. However, it dangerous to have absolutely no awareness of the law. As the saying goes “knowledge is power”.
We should all strive to have a basic understanding of our rights, and how the law can work for us in particularly sticky situations that we can likely find ourselves in. Say you get injured at work by accident. An injury can affect the quality of your life in a lot of ways – it can severely impact relationships and finances. However, since it happened by accident, it can be difficult for you to determine who or what to blame. You may even feel like it’s your fault.
How lawyers can help
However, someone armed with knowledge of the law might call otherwise. Perhaps you may be keen enough to demand compensation, but even then, if you aren’t equipped with sufficient legal knowledge, you might not recognize when you’re not being compensated enough, or if you need to get a lawyer into the fray.
The McDonald’s Coffee lawsuit
Take for example the most popular of all personal injury cases – Liebeck vs McDonald’s. Yes, the one where the plaintiff spilled coffee on herself. It has been the subject of intense ridicule, with people often dismissing it as a frivolous lawsuit, but it is far from it. 79-year old Stella Liebeck actually received third degree burns on sensitive areas of her body and required skin grafts and debridement treatments, but despite this she was left disfigured and disabled for two years.
At that time, McDonald’s coffee were served hotter than the average, around 180-190 degrees, without any warning labels on the container. Ms. Liebeck initially informed McDonald’s of the accident and asked them to pay for her medical expenses which was around $11,000, which the latter refused.
It was a case of David vs Goliath, with McDonald’s showing corporate indifference throughout the whole ordeal. Records have Ms. Liebeck stating that she had never filed a lawsuit before in her life, and would not have filed this lawsuit if McDonald’s “hadn’t dismissed her request for compensation for pain and medical bills with an offer of $800.” In the end, the plaintiff won and received around $2.7 million for punitive damages.
Just imagine if McDonald’s gave in to Ms. Liebeck’s request the first time she approached them. She would have received far less and would probably have been ok with it, and McDonald’s would have probably continued on serving their scalding hot coffee, indifferent of the safety of their customers.
But it’s not really about the money. Money rarely has the power to undo physical and/or psychological trauma, most especially not the loss of a life. Many of us would rather go on with our lives being safe, but if we do get injured, what we want is for the negligent party to fix things so that it won’t happen again, and to compensate us adequately to restore or uplift our quality of life.
Finding a lawyer
When injured like this, it is sometimes necessary to obtain the help of a compassionate personal injury law firm who understands the extent of the problem. This Boulder personal injury accident lawyer states on his site that really care about their clients and their client’s families, and do what it takes to achieve justice. When selecting an injury lawyer, it is important to look at their capabilities. Are you suing an insurer over a broken leg, or taking on a large corporation?
As always, seek advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your state.
You may also be interested in this article, “The McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit”.