hot coffee; fraud; litigation; law suit; suing

Hot Coffee and Fraud

More Hot Coffee Problems at McDonalds or Fraud?

If you enjoy reading about strange legal cases, then you are probably familiar with the original hot coffee case from McDonalds in 1994. A woman was severely burned due to spilling hot coffee into her lap. While some might have thought this was a frivolous lawsuit, she did suffer from severe burns that affected her way of life, and that’s why she won her case. In fact, she even had to have skin graft surgery. However, there have been other similar cases that have been filed that were not quite on the level, such as one coming out of Victorville, CA.

Getting Burned

In 2014, a woman named Selena Edwards claimed that she ordered coffee from McDonald’s and that the coffee spilled onto her right hand, burning it severely. She even provided images of the burns to help with her case. However, the pictures of those second-degree burns are now going to help the prosecution with their case of fraud against Ms. Edwards.

You see, the state insurance officials soon discovered that the images, as well as the supposed medical documentation that she provided all came from the Internet. They were not of her, and she was never truly burned. The photos that she used had come from a hospital website. They then got in touch with her medical provider to see if she had come in with any injuries. They said that she had not.

Fraud Found

Now, the tables have turned on Edwards, and she was charged with 21 felony counts of insurance fraud and workers’ compensation fraud by the San Bernardino County DA. The insurance company was immediately suspicious of Edwards and the supposed injuries, which was what made them launch the case to investigate her.

She is hardly the only case of fraud to occur. In California alone, state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has said that they tend to deal with tens of thousands of potential fraud cases each year. Of course, not all the cases they investigate are going to be fraud, but given the sheer number of cases, you can bet that quite a few of them are.

Fraud like this tends to hurt everyone. It hurts the companies that the fraud is being committed against, and it makes other cases where there are legitimate injuries and complaints to all be seen through a lens of potential fraud. It seems as if there are quite a few people who are looking for an easy payday.

Consider the example of Anna Aayala who said that she found – and started to eat – part of a human finger. This finger, obtained by her husband whose coworker lost a finger in an accident, was placed in a Wendy’s chili by Anna, all in an attempt to sue the restaurant and score a large payday. Of course, her fraud was found out eventually. Unfortunately for Wendy’s, they estimate that they lost about $21 million in business because of the “finger incident”.