McDonald's was completely in the wrong for the way they handled this case. They refused to cover a reasonable request for medical bills and several requests to settle out of court. Then they were allowed to get their spin on things yet she couldn't talk to the media.
In the end, they lowered the temperature of their coffee. To me, that has always spoken volumes as to the merit of the case.
Hell yes she should have sued. A lot of people judge her because they don't know the coffee was 1203949395803029494032 degrees hotter than what it should have been. The documentary is on Netflix.
I can't count how many times I've heard, "But coffee is supposed to be hot!" Yes, but not that hot. If I set my water heater to 190 degrees and didn't tell you, could I blame you for getting into the shower before turning the water on because showers are supposed to be hot? And if I had been told 700 times before?
"Hot" is a relative term. Where do you draw the line between hot coffee and coffee that is too hot? For the jury, that temperature was the point where the result was third degree burns needing skin grafts.
Since this case many things have changed. Cup holders are standard in cars. Coffee cups are thicker and no longer stryofoam. Lids are different. Some places put the sugar and cream in the coffee before handing it to you. The "java jacket" adds an extra layer of protection between your hands and the heat from the cup.
And from what I remember in the documentary, she was a passenger. Her son-in-law (I think) was driving and they ordered and actually parked in a parking spot. They were not mobile and she had the coffee between her legs to take the lid off. Something that a lot of us have done.