A lot of people wonder what the difference is between a plain old accident that could happen to anyone and and accident that occurs because someone was legally negligent. This is a central part of personal injury law. When is someone “at fault?”
One of the best and most famous examples is the McDonald’s hot coffee case. Back in 1994, Stella Liebeck was awarded a record amount in a suit against McDonald’s.
Many were outraged by the suit and denounced it as frivolous. Liebeck was maligned as being greedy and irresponsible and accused manipulating the legal system in a manner that would create a dangerous precedent for future cases.
Indeed, there have been many copycat cases in the years following. Some were worthy of being called frivolous; others were not.
It all depends on the definition of “negligence.” Continue reading