Woman Gets Damage Award from Dunkin Donuts

Women Gets Settlement from Dunkin Donuts for Fall in Parking Lot

A New Jersey woman settled a lawsuit against fast-food franchise Dunkin Donuts earlier this fall, agreeing to accept $522,000 after she suffered an injury at a store in Highland Park, New Jersey. Maria Marsala, the plaintiff, alleged that she tripped over a spike in the parking lot, hurting her back and shoulder, and burning herself with hot coffee. According to her attorney, her injuries required surgery, and she is still receiving physical therapy.

In documents filed with the court, Marsala said that she stopped at the restaurant in January,2012 for coffee and donuts. As she returned to her vehicle, she tripped over a metal rebar spike that protruded from the ground. Her attorney said that the spike had been exposed when a curb stop at the store was dislodged. It was uncertain how the curb stop had been moved.

Marsala’s lawsuit alleged a breach of duty by Dunkin Donuts to properly monitor its premises. Under New Jersey law, owners or operators of commercial property have a responsibility to reasonably monitor property to identify any potential safety risks to persons legally on the premises.

Furthermore, if the owner/operator knows (or should have known) about the potential risk, steps must be taken to either eliminate the risk, warn potential visitors of the risk, or prevent potential visitors from having access to the area where the risk exists.

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