Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When is an injury lawsuit frivolous?

In legal contemplation, a frivolous lawsuit is one that has no merit and baseless. It is usually meant to harass the person or party being sued by causing inconvenience and, in some cases, anxiety borne by the necessity of spending resources to set-up a defense which, in some cases, is against the backdrop of a full-blown trial.
Personal injury claims are often dismissed to be frivolous due to the nature of the injury itself as it includes emotional and psychological damage, which really cannot be measured in terms of monetary compensation.
I recently read an article revisiting the McDonald’s Coffee case and I especially appreciated how the author debunked the general notion that the said case was frivolous.
We all remember the McDonald Coffee case as the one where Stella Liebeck was awarded a large sum of money as compensation for her injuries when she spilled hot coffee on herself. The article successfully explained how the said case was far from being frivolous as the media has projected it to be.
According to the article, trial attorneys for Liebeck successfully proved that she suffered 3rd degree burns to her thighs, groin and abdomen and lesser burns to 16 percent of her body, for which she was hospitalized for eight days. It added that evidence was presented to show that McDonald's sold coffee at a temperature that would cause 3rd degree burns within seconds.
With these facts, we can be sure that Liebeck’s claim is certainly not frivolous. Being hospitalized for eight days is no joke and is undoubtedly a ground for a lawsuit.
There is a lesson to be learned in this case: that is no injury lawsuit is frivolous as long as someone indeed got hurt. To be sure, it would be wise to consult Los Angeles trial attorneys experienced in handling injury cases and ask if your particular claim is viable.