jkp1187, the coffee they serve over here at the DFACs in Afghanistan is often so hot that I burn my fingers if I don't double up the cups. So, I learned very quickly to double up the cups, and to allow the coffee to cool before drinking it when it is that hot.
Should the coffee be cooler? Perhaps.
Should McDonald's have set their coffee to a slightly lower temperature? Quite possibly.
Do they bear any degree of responsibility? Yes, since they knew of previous problems.
BUT... in my opinion, the victim should only have been paid actual medical costs. Pain and suffering? No. Punitive damages? No... although I could see government fines being applied. (In general, I don't think private individuals should receive punitive damages unless actual malice can be proven.)
To keep this on topic, degrees of responsibility and culpability vary with circumstance. And there is a difference between what public entities and private citizens do, and for what they should be held accountable.
If I run a gun shop, and I keep weapons about in a haphazard manner, some of them loaded, then I should probably expect problems if anybody gets hurt by such a gun.
On the other hand, if I have a weapon in my home, that an unauthorized individual manipulates without my permission, and in a patently unsafe manner, that should be that person's problem, and only that person's.
I think torts and criminal charges are way over the top in the US; from your posts and citations, I suspect (though I could be wrong) that you work in or with the legal system... and you probably realize that while the US has under 5% of the world's population, we currently have 22% of the world's prison population.
We sue, and we criminalize, far too often for my tastes. Again, people need to own more responsibility for the things they do (generally, much more than 20%...) and quit trying to get the government to put all blame and responsibility onto others for them.