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Product liability

Consumers expect products to meet ordinary expectations, be free of defects, meet reasonable safety standards, and state hazards if the product is misused. When a product purchased in the marketplace causes injury and is determined to be defective, the consumer may be eligible for compensation. Product liability includes design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. For example, in the 1992 McDonald’s coffee lawsuit, Stella Liebeck, 79, a passenger in her grandson’s car going through the drive-thru, spilled coffee on her thighs and pelvis. Ms. Lieback suffered third-degree burns requiring skin grafting; she was hospitalized for eight days and partially disabled for two years while recovering and receiving medical support. The lawsuit was brought to the jury, which determined McDonald’s was negligent for serving coffee much hotter than other establishments’ coffee and liable for Ms. Liebeck’s injuries.