Visitor Question

Burned by Hot Tea at a Bookstore…

Submitted By: Grace (Florida, USA)

Last week I purchased a cup of tea for my 5 year old daughter from the local book store in Florida. The tea was so hot, past the boiling point, and the clerk even said “it might be too hot”.

As I took it back to the counter to ask for another cup of cooler tea, the cup literally melted and the lid flew off, burning both my hands. I had to drop the cup to avoid more burns and spilled the tea all over my hands, my legs and boots.

Another customer rushed me to the sink to put cold water on my burns and the clerk called a clean up crew. Instead, a manager came out and asked that I complete a report and took down the witness statement. I stated that I was unsure about seeking medical treatment (hospitals scare me).

I couldn’t drive and both my hands had swelled right up. I waited two hours for the pain to subside and then drove home with my child. I called the local hospital and they said as long as my hands weren’t blistered too just keep it cool with a cold press. I took two days off work (self-employed) but did not make a hospital visit.

I haven’t pursued anything further, however the company’s insurance company representative called me very concerned. I haven’t called them back yet. I just want to know if this will actually go anywhere with an offer for the pain and suffering, or to just move on? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a localĀ attorney.


Dear Grace,

From a legal standpoint the company does owe you something for your pain and suffering.

First you must be sure your injuries aren’t permanent; that includes scarring.

You don’t sound like a person who thinks they should become an instant millionaire because you suffered a soft tissue injury. Hurray for you.

If you are sure your hands are alright and you haven’t incurred any medical bills and you are also sure you haven’t suffered any scarring or other permanent disability you wouldn’t be out of line asking for an amount between $1500.00 to $2500.00 dollars.

Add to that the amount of wages you lost for the two days you had to take off.

Start at $2500.00 and go down from there.

Believe it or not most insurance claims adjusters respond more positively to injured parties who aren’t threatening in tone or behavior.

If you haven’t suffered any scarring or other disability you probably wouldn’t want to consider legal action.

It would be an exercise in futility.

Instead, explain:

how the burn felt;

how long the pain lasted;

how upset you were;

how you could barely pick up your 5 year old;

how painful and terrifying the drive home was; and

how you had to take time off.

If it is true, tell the adjuster you are considering legal action but would rather settle the claim for a fair amount.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: November 18, 2011

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One thought on “Burned by Hot Tea at a Bookstore…

  1. Because I am a sub-contractor for a publishing/marketing company, I was engaged on a major and urgent job to have a project delivered on a deadline that was supposed to be the week of the accident. My husband had called them to extend the deadline as I couldn’t use my hands to sketch or use the computer.

    I found out today they cancelled my contract because they didn’t think I would recover quickly enough to finish the work in time to get the project off the ground within their own deadline time.

    We are devastated as the contract was in the upper end of several thousand dollars and as I am not interested in a frivolous lawsuit, my husband wants to get an attorney and I don’t as I am so stressed as it is. I cannot get the contract back and the contract doesn’t cover me for work already done.

    Can I claim this loss as I have it in writing the terms of my contract and the cancellation?

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