"Daddy, are you ok?" And 8 year-old asked his father after being handed his one year-old sibling and seeing his father fall to the floor. And all this from a spiked diet coke from a McDonald's drive thru. Trevor Walker of South Jordan, Utah ordered lunch for his two children and his wife at the local McDonald's and shortly after lost consciousness when the effects of his drink hit him. He fortunately had sent off a somewhat coherent text message to his wife to come home and that he needed help. He is now suing McDonald's for unspecified damages.
The Miami Herald reports on the details of the McDonald's drink spiking, "the main suspect was a McDonald's worker who was the younger brother of the fast food restaurant's manager. Before the incident, the workers' social media posts suggested he was a drug user and that he was no stranger to disrespecting McDonald's customers in the drive-thru winner...A urinary analysis at the hospital revealed that there was buprenorphine, a heroine substance, in his system."
In addition to the physical and emotional issues this incident caused, Walker is also seeking punitive damages against McDonald's and this case is a good example of one that might warrant this special class of damages (aka money) also referred to as exemplary damages. In California, punitive damages are reserved for those personal injury and wrongful death cases in which the defendant (here, McDonald's) behaved in a particularly bad way. Governed by California Civil Code 3294, punitive damages are something that doesn't look at the plaintiff but at what the defendant did or did not do in a given situation. What courts are looking for is whether the defendant acted with malice, intentional fraud and/or extreme recklessness. Ultimately, the punitive damage award while financially benefiting the plaintiff has the real goal of punishing the defendant and making the behavior stop in the future.
While your typical Woodland Hills car accident case would not warrant punitive damages, something like this just might if the lawyers handling this McDonald's personal injury case can prove that there clearly was a malicious intention on the part of the now fired employee to cause injury to Walker. A couple other things to note about when Los Angeles punitive damages are available:
- They have to be asked for-- while you don't specify a number, it is up to the plaintiff filing the personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to request them rather than see if the court grants them
- Punitive damages can be decided at the same time or separately from the main trial
- You pay taxes on punitive damages
Think you might have a California personal injury cases that also warrants punitive damages? We are here to help. At Walch Law, we have over 40 years of experience helping victims and families or serious and deadly personal injuries and will work hard to get you the same great results. The sooner you call the better-- CALL US NOW.