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Not in Virginia: The Impact of Contributory Negligence

A Jacksonville, Florida jury recently awarded $100,000.00 to a woman who was burned by hot coffee when the lid came off of the Starbucks coffee she was handed at a drive-through window.  The woman claimed that the lids tended to pop off, putting people at risk for burns.  Starbucks admitted that the Impact of Contributory Negligence in Virginia - Altizer Lawcompany receives about 80 complaints per month regarding leaks and lids popping off of cups unexpectedly.  For those of you who may have experienced a similar injury in Virginia, you may be out of luck.

Virginia’s contributory negligence law prevents an injured person from recovering from a negligent party if the injured person was in any way at fault.  Even if the actions of the other party are overwhelmingly egregious, ANY negligence on the part of the injured party prohibits the injured person from recovering a judgment.  The Florida jury determined that Starbucks was 80% at fault in causing the injury, meaning that the injured woman was 20% at fault in the incident.  If this incident happened in Virginia, the woman would receive nothing except her burns and less coffee in her cup to drink!

The lesson to be learned:  Follow the laws.  Pay attention to your surroundings.  Check your lids on hot items.  Not only will you be less likely to be injured, but if you are injured, you will be more likely to be able to recover from the negligent party.

If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, and you did not contribute to the cause of the injury, you may be able to recover damages from the negligent party. If you have been injured in any way through no fault of your own, call Altizer Law, PC. Our trusted attorneys are here to help you.