Family Awarded Massive Payout From McDonald's After Freak Accident

The Caraballo family from Florida was granted a damage compensation of $800,000 after their daughter suffered second-degree burns due to a McDonald's Chicken McNugget incident in Tamarac, near Fort Lauderdale. The unfortunate event took place when the girl's mother was pulling away from a McDonald's drive-thru.

In 2019, 4-year-old Olivia Caraballo was severely burnt, leading to a jury verdict delivered on Wednesday that ordered McDonald's USA and its franchisee, Upchurch Foods, to pay $400,000 for the damages incurred over the past four years and an additional $400,000 for future damages. This information was reported by the South Florida SunSentinel.

A separate jury had previously determined in May that both McDonald's and the franchisee were accountable for the girl's injuries.

Upon hearing the decision, Olivia's mother, Philana Holmes, conveyed her satisfaction with the jury's verdict to reporters outside the courtroom, expressing that it was a "fair judgment."

"I’m actually just happy that they listened to Olivia’s voice and the jury was able to decide a fair judgment," Holmes said. "I’m happy with that. I honestly had no expectations, so this is more than fair for me."

Holmes stated in her Tuesday testimony that Olivia, who is now 8 years old, refers to the scar on her inner thigh as her "nugget" and has plans for its removal, as reported by the newspaper. The family had initially requested $15 million in damage compensation.

In her testimony, she elaborated that she had bought Happy Meals for her son and daughter, who were both seated at the back during the incident. Upon hearing her daughter's agonizing scream, she quickly pulled over into a parking lot and discovered the nugget wedged between Olivia's thigh and the seat belt.

She further presented pictures of the burn and played audio recordings of her child's cries in the courtroom.

Holmes also emphasized during her testimony that she received no warning from McDonald's about the high temperature of the food. McDonald's defense attorneys countered by arguing that the child's injury healed after approximately three weeks without causing any more discomfort, suggesting that a sum of $156,000 should suffice to cover both past and future damages. They also proposed that it was the girl's mother who was distressed by the scar.

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