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Child Burned By Scalding Tea Obtains Nearly $1 Million

The family of a six-year-old boy is very pleased with the outcome of a personal injury lawsuit filed on his behalf.

For related stories, see: Jury Finds Driver Under The Influence Responsible For Accident That Killed A Child

How He Became A Burn Victim

The plaintiff, his grandmother, aunt, sister, and several cousins were having a meal at a Chinese restaurant where they ordered tea. While they were enjoying their time out, the server delivered the tea and placed it on the table’s lazy susan. At one point during their meal, the lazy susan turned which resulted in the teapot tipping and landing directly on the boy.

The scalding liquid caused second and third-degree burns on his hands, groin, genitals, and thighs. He was rushed to a local hospital where he received initial treatments but was ultimately transferred to a burn center, where doctors performed multiple skin graft procedures. During these procedures, skin was taken from his back and buttocks and grafted onto his burns.

Despite his doctor’s excellent care, one of the graft locations failed to heal and he had to undergo a second procedure where they took skin from his thigh to cover the wound on his back. The result was damage to his skin which nearly doubled the area damaged by the burns. He was left with scarring on his stomach, back, thighs, groin, buttocks, and chest. His medical expenses at the time of the suit had totaled more than $230,000 and he is expected to require additional treatments in the future for scar revision, skin reorganization, and more skin grafts.

The Complaint

The burn victim's mother filed a lawsuit on his behalf against the restaurant, alleging that the defendant had been negligent in the location on the table where the teapot had been placed and that they had served the beverage in excessively hot temperatures.

To back up their allegations, the plaintiff’s legal team presented evidence showing that the restaurant had previously dealt with multiple situations where hot tea had fallen from a lazy Susan and burned a patron. They also determined that employees were supposed to take steps to prevent this from happening, including using a silicon pad to steady the teapot, making sure to place the teapot on the center of the lazy Susan or on a stable part of the table, and using ice cubes to cool liquid before delivering it to a table. An expert also testified that in order for the tea to create the serious burns that the child suffered from, it would have had to have been in excess of 180 degrees.

In response, the defendants argued that the grandmother and aunt should have provided the child with better supervision.

The Award

At the end of the trial, the jury determined that the defendants were 100% at fault for the accident and awarded the plaintiffs $998,500.

What Does This Award Compensate The Plaintiff For?

This award, also known as “damages” will compensate the plaintiff for multiple things, including monetary expenses such as medical expenses and non-monetary losses like pain and suffering and emotional trauma. In this case, it is likely that a portion of this award does, in fact, cover the pain and suffering experienced by the child since he required extensive medical treatments which left a large amount of scarring.

The Importance Of Preserving Evidence

Whenever someone is involved in an accident, like being covered in a hot liquid which leaves them with serious burn injuries, it is important that evidence from the scene of the accident be preserved. This may include photographs of the scene, the contact information of any witnesses, and the medical notes documenting the cause of the injuries as well as details regarding the severity of the injuries. Be sure to also document any communication from the defendant or an insurance company.

Keep reading: Settlement Provides Paralyzed Child With $1.9 Million

Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: April 4, 2016
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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