Dunkin’ Donuts Sued for Hot Tea InjuriesFor many decades now, customers have been suing various restaurants and establishments for excessively hot beverages. Although this might seem fanciful to the outside observer, victims suffer very real injuries from these incidents. It is all too easy to dismiss these claims as overly litigious when you are not suffering from serious, disfiguring burns to the face and body. But can these lawsuits really be successful? How do you successfully prove that a restaurant’s negligence led to your hot beverage injuries? These are just a few of the questions that a couple is asking themselves as they sue Dunkin’ Donut in New Jersey.

Woman Seriously Burned by Hot Tea at Dunkin’ Donuts

On May 8, 2023, it was reported that a woman had suffered serious burns while purchasing tea at Dunkin’ Donuts. This incident occurred in Essex County back in 2020, although it is only now that the woman and her husband are filing a lawsuit against the establishment. The lawsuit alleges that the workers failed to properly secure the lid. They also failed to attach the cup to the cup carrier. As they passed the tea and the cup carrier to the woman, the hot liquid spilled out and burned the victim.

These burns were severe enough to warrant medical treatment. The lawsuit also alleges that the victim has been unable to engage in her normal activities and hobbies as a result of her burns. The lawsuit specifically references the New York Product Liability Act, pointing out that this legislation requires all businesses to follow the “accepted business practice” when carrying out operations. Interestingly, the husband is also listed as a plaintiff – apparently because his wife’s injuries have robbed him of his wife’s companionship. This suggests that the woman’s burns have affected her relationship and the couple’s ability to be intimate.

Will This Lawsuit Succeed?

But will this lawsuit actually succeed? It is difficult to say. That being said, virtually identical lawsuits have succeeded in the past. A notable precedent was set when a woman successfully sued McDonald’s for hot coffee burns decades ago. Since then, other plaintiffs have attempted to take similar legal action. In the end, it comes down to each plaintiff’s ability to prove negligence and legitimate injuries.

What Kinds of Injuries Can Hot Liquids Cause?

Hot liquid is capable of causing serious, life-altering burns. These burns may be permanent and disfiguring in nature. These disfiguring burns have the potential to dramatically alter people’s relationships. This is especially true in the context of hot beverage injuries that occur in drive-thrus. This is because when the restaurant staff passes hot beverages to customers, spills are often limited to the lap/crotch area. This is simply a result of a driver’s normal sitting position. The resulting burns can cause legitimate non-economic injuries, affecting victims’ self-esteem and causing a wide range of psychological issues.

What Do You Need to Prove in a Hot Beverage Lawsuit?

For any personal injury lawsuit in New Jersey, you will need to prove negligence. Proving negligence requires you to establish four main elements:

  • Duty of Care: Restaurants automatically owe their customers a certain duty of care. From the moment the customer sets foot on the premises, they are required to take a reasonable amount of care to ensure their safety.
  • Breach of Duty: A breach of duty is when the defendant fails to exercise the duty detailed above. In the case of a hot beverage injury, this might include serving excessively hot liquids, failing to secure the lid, and similar mistakes.
  • Causation: To establish causation, you need to show that there was a direct link between the defendant’s breach of duty and your injuries. For example, if you spilled your coffee because you were driving too fast, there is no link between the restaurant’s misconduct and your injuries – even if the lid wasn’t quite secured properly.
  • Injuries: Finally, you need to show that you suffered legitimate injuries. For example, you might have been hospitalized for serious burns after the spill.

Where Can I Find a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney in New Jersey?

If you have been searching for a personal injury attorney in New Jersey, look no further than Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. Over the years, we have helped numerous plaintiffs – including those who have suffered various injuries at restaurants. We know that restaurants can cause injuries in a number of different ways, including spills, burns, and much more. If you believe that your injury was caused by any degree of negligence, it is worth contacting us at your earliest convenience. During a consultation, we can discuss the specifics of your situation and determine your legal options. Reach out today to get started.

The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over thirty years.

Call Our Office At (609) 240-0040 Today for Help