Burned On Fast Food: Can You Sue?

There are many tales regarding people who have ordered fast food and hot drinks, only to get physically burned by their purchases. It makes you think about personal injury attorneys and lawsuits. If you have had a similar food or drink burn experience recently, can you sue? Here are your answers.

Expected Serving Temperature and Safe Temperature

All food and drink produced by restaurants and fast food places are required to serve food at a specific temperature. This is the necessary safe temperature at which food is safe to consume and will not contain viruses or bacteria that can make you sick (e.g., E.Coli, botulism, etc.). Food that is allowed to cool must still be at or slightly above the regulated temperature prior to serving.

For example, all meats must be at or above 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Dishes containing any meat must be cooked to that temperature or above as well (e.g., stew, soup, pot roast, pasta with meat, etc.). Failure to follow the state and federal regulations results in a loss of the restauranteur's license.

Assumed Behavior of Restaurant Guests

When food or hot drinks are served, it is generally assumed that the restaurant guests will allow the food or drinks to cool before consumption. When guests order things through a drive-thru, this same assumption is in place. Burns typically occur when a guest receives food or drink through a drive-thru window and then immediately attempts to consume the products while driving.

You Can Sue, But Beware

If you are burned by hot coffee, hot chocolate, or hot food that spills all over you, you do have a personal injury for which you can sue. There are just a few tiny hurdles you have to address before calling a personal injury attorney.

  1. Drive directly to an urgent care clinic to address the burns. Only a doctor can tell you how badly they are and how how your food or beverage would have to be to burn you.
  2. If possible, bring any of the offending food or beverage with you to the urgent care clinic and have them use a thermometer to see how hot it is. Document this, if possible.
  3. Beware of the fact that the restaurant will argue with you in regards to food handling regulations and the fact that all restaurants assume that patrons will not attempt to consume fresh, hot food and drinks.

Your attorney will be left with the responsibility to show that you expected to consume your food or drink while in your vehicle and that the restaurant has a responsibility to warn you if something is really hot. Your attorney can also argue that the restaurant can serve food and drink at a lower, safer temperature and still maintain and follow food safety handling regulations. Visit a site like http://www.centralnylaw.com for more information.